The Banking Ombudsman Scheme in India

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme in India was originally introduced in the year 1995 but the current scheme is called 'The Banking Ombudsman Scheme, 2006. This 2006 scheme also has been amended subsequently in May 2007, February 2009, and July 2017. The May 2007 amendment was very crucial. It gave the aggrieved bank customers a right to appeal against the Banking Ombudsman's decision rejecting a customer's complaint. (Click here to read the May 2007 notification) Prior to that an appeal was possible only against an award given by the Banking Ombudsman. You will read about the difference between a decision and an award a little later but here you need to know that this right to appeal against a rejection of your complaint only exists in theory. For all practical purposes, your legal right to appeal against a rejection of your complaint by the Banking Ombudsman has been taken away by way of personal emails issued by Reserve Bank of India's Customer Education and Protection Department (Customer Service Department) to all the Banking Ombudsmen operating in India. You may read about these emails in detail in this page. The second amendment of February 2009 brought Internet Banking and non-adherence to BCSBI code by a bank within the purview of Banking Ombudsman Scheme. Keep reading for more...


Difference between a 'decision' and an 'award'

A decision of Banking Ombudsman in India implies an order closing the complaint in its records when the Banking Ombudsman feels that the complaint has been resolved by way of a mutual agreement between the related parties (the customer and the bank/s) or the complaint lacks substance and deserves to be rejected. An 'award', on the other hand, is usually issued against the bank/s when a mutually agreed solution does not emerge and the Banking Ombudsman finds merit in the complaint.

Basics of 'The Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006'

The complete Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 may be downloaded in PDF format (117 KB) from this link: Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 (Updated upto July 2017) (Opens in new tab). In short, the scheme contains the following:

Basics of 'The Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006'

Chapter I

Preliminary

(i) Short title, commencement, extent, and application

(ii) Suspension of the scheme

(iii) Definitions

Chapter II

Establishment of Office of Banking Ombudsman

Appointment & tenure, location of office & temporary headquarters, and secretariat

Chapter III

Jursdiction, powers, & duties of Banking Ombudsman

Chapter IV

Procedure for redressal of grievance

(i) Grounds of complaint

(ii) Procedure for filing complaint

(iii) Power to call for information

(iv) Settlement of complaint by agreement

(v) Award by the Banking Ombudsman

(vi) Rejection of the complaint

(vii) Appeal before the appellate authority

(viii) Banks required to display salient features of the scheme for common knowledge of public

Chapter V

(i) Removal of Difficulties

(ii) Application of the Banking Ombudsman Schemes, 1995, and 2002

Annexures

Annexure-A

Form of Complaint

(The complaint form in PDF format is available in the PDF Scheme file whose link is given above)

Annexure-B

Addresses and area of operation of Banking Ombudsman

The addresses and contact particulars may change overtime and hence the customers may rely on the official RBI link containing addresses of Banking Ombudsman offices in India

Out of the entire Banking Ombudsman scheme, Chapter IV is most relevant for bank customers in India and in this blog I will concentrate on that chapter more than others.