Monday, December 18, 2017



Vertical and horizontal growth of banks in India is a matter of pride not only for the bank employees but also for any Indian, given the fact that the landscape of banking is predominantly occupied by public sector banks facing systemic and non-systemic issues. This success story simply put, while in 2011 only 58.70% of the households have atleast one or more bank account/s, in 2016 this ratio is increased to 99%. 

While opening a bank account, making nomination is very important aspect to avoid difficulty in claiming the balance/articles in case of unfortunate death of the account holder/all joint account holders. Though nomination facility is available for various purposes, this write up is confined to bank accounts only considering the audience and the medium. In case of joint account, appropriate operational instructions can mitigate the hardship to some extent but still it is advisable to make nomination in any of the accounts held jointly or singly. Considering the importance of making nomination, Reserve Bank of India has instructed all the banks to advise the depositors to avail the nomination facility and in case, if the depositor is not willing to avail the facility, to record the facts to this effect. Further, RBI has also instructed the Banks to put a legend (indicative statement), in the passbook/ Statement of Account/Fixed / Short Deposit Receipt, viz. “Nomination Registered” with the name of the nominee if the depositor has given the consent to also add, in the legend, the name of the nominee. 

The procedure for making nomination and settlement of claims by the nomination are governed by The Banking Companies (Nomination) Rules 1985 together with Clause 45(ZA) to 45(ZF) of Baking Regulations Act 1949. 

It is ironic that though the facility of nomination in bank deposit accounts/ locker facility is widely used, it is also generally misunderstood. The depositors in general understand that the nominee nominated by them will receive the balance amount (or articles, in case of Safe Custody Facility or Safety Locker Facility) and he/she will become the “sole owner” of the same. This perception is incorrect. The nominee receives the same as a trustee and  is responsible to hand over the same to the heir/s of the nominator if he/she (nominee) is not the sole heir of nominator/s or not the sole beneficiary of the will left by the sole account holder.  However, bank is discharged from its liability once the payment is made in due course to the duly nominated nominee. Nominee is required to produce his KYC Documents and the Death Certificate of the Nominator. It is to be noted that the nomination facility and settlement of claims under the facility is codified by RBI to facilitate the timely release of the fund/articles belonging to the nominator and it cannot override the Succession Law as applicable to the nominator/s.


It is a codified procedure of appointing the individual/s by an account holder / by a lesser (hirer of locker) / by a bailer (safe custody of articles) for receiving the balance amount/articles in the locker/articles bailed with the bank by the person so appointed.


All types of deposit a/cs, Safe Custody Facility and Safety Locker Hire Facility


The individual/s who has/have opened the account in the personal capacity can nominate a nominee.
Nomination facility cannot be availed in accounts opened in fiduciary (representative) capacity e.g.  Body Corporate, Partnership Firm, Trust, HUF, Trust, Society, Co-Op Society, etc.
Note: Sole Proprietor can avail the facility of nomination in the account of the Sole Proprietor Firm. 


Only an INDIVIDUAL can be nominated as a nominee.
1. A minor can also be nominated as nominee provided that the nominator has to appoint another person who is not a minor to act on behalf of the minor.
2. Nominee may or may not be a relative of the nominator.
3. An NRI can also be nominated but the repatriation of fund will be subject to RBI norms.


In deposit accounts, only one individual can be nominated irrespective of the numbers of individuals in joint account.
In Safety Locker Hire Facility in the name two or more individuals where the operational instruction is JOINTLY, the hirers can nominate one or more individuals as nominee.


     1.  Nomination can be made at the time of opening the account or any time after opening the account.
     2.      In case of Joint Account, irrespective of the operational instructions, nomination is to be made by the joint signature of all the account holders.
     3.      Nomination is to be witnessed by a person other than the nominee. If the nominator is illiterate (authenticates the nomination form by putting thumb impression), it is to be witnessed by two witnesses.
     4.      Nomination can be canceled/ modified at any time by the nominator. In case of Joint A/c, all the account holders have to sign for the purpose.
     5.      Prescribed forms are to be used for respective purpose.
     6.      KYC Documents of the witness are not required.
     7.    Where a single individual is nominated as a nominee, the Nomination takes effect only after, in the case of sole account holder, the death of the sole account holder and in the case of joint account holders, death of all the joint a/c holders.
     8.      Nominee can give valid discharge in respect of the claim lodged against the bank. Bank is discharged once the nominee’s claim is settled. In case of dispute with the nominee, the legal heir/s has/have no recourse against the bank. However, he/she/they can proceed against the nominee. If the heir/s issue/s order from the court to bank for preventing the bank from entertaining nominee’s claim, the bank has to act as per the order of the court if the nominee’s claim is not settled before receipt of the court order.
    9.      If there are more than one heirs, nomination cannot prevent the other heir/s from claiming the share from the nominee and hence, under such circumstances, nomination cannot serve the purpose of a will if the nominator intends to make the nominee “the sole owner” of the subject fund/articles merely on the strength of nomination. To repeat, nomination can not prevent  the heir/s from claiming his/her rightful share from nominee. One’s wish to make an individual “the sole owner” of the fund/articles with a bank, can be fulfilled by a valid will.
   10.  Give nominee’s correct details (Name, Age, Relation (if any), Address etc) in the nomination form to avoid any problem in future. 
   11.  Bank has to prepare the list of inventory of the articles before the nominee removes or in the case of joint operations, nominee and the surviving hirer remove the articles. The list of the inventory is to be signed by all the claimants.
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Disclaimer: This write up is for general information only. Please refer to RBI/Bank website or consult a legal expert before acting upon the information given in the write up. The writer or his employer is not responsible for any liability which may result from any action or omission of the person based on the information given hereinabove.

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