The Reserve Bank has been extending facilities to the public for exchanging cut and mutilated notes at all its Issue Offices and currency chest branches of commercial banks. In order to make the Note Refund Rules easy to understand and to apply, these have been comprehensively revised and simplified. It has also been decided that any officer of the designated branch can adjudicate mutilated notes presented thereat. It is hoped that simplification and liberalisation of the Rules would help both, the prescribed officers as well as the tenderers of mutilated notes to easily comprehend the revised Rules and enable the former to apply the Note Refund Rules without leaving any scope for subjectivity.
While the facility for exchange of soiled notes is to be provided by all banks at all of their branches, the facility of exchange of mutilated notes would be available at designated bank branch/es (including cooperative banks and RRBs) to all tenderers whether they are account holders or not. This is a duty that the banking system as a whole owes to the public. It needs no emphasis that the object of simplification of RBI Note Refund Rules and its extension is to help members of the public exchange the cut/mutilated notes in their possession without difficulty. The designated bank branches should play an active role and ensure that the facility is operated for the benefit of the members of public at large and is not pre-empted by a group of persons.
This booklet contains Rules and Procedures to be followed under the Scheme. The procedure required to be followed by the branches for acceptance, adjudication, and maintenance of records of mutilated notes is also laid down in this booklet. All further instructions to be issued on the subject will be with reference to this booklet and branches of the banks shall update the booklet by making necessary amendments to it. If any clarification is needed on the scheme, a reference should be made either to the Issue Department of the Reserve Bank of India at its offices or the Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Central Office, Department of Currency Management, Mumbai – 400 001 (Please click here to send email).
A. Provisions in the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934:
Section 28: Notwithstanding anything contained in any enactment or rule of law to the contrary, no person shall of right be entitled to recover from the Central Government or the Bank, the value of any lost, stolen, mutilated or imperfect currency note, provided that the Bank may, with the previous sanction of the Central Government, prescribe the circumstances in and the conditions and limitations subject to which the value of such currency notes or bank notes may be refunded as of grace and the rules made under this proviso shall be laid on the table of Parliament.
Section 58(1): The Central Board may, with the previous sanction of the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, make regulations consistent with this Act to provide for all matters for which provision is necessary or convenient for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Act.
Section 58 (2): In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, such regulations may provide for all or any of the following matters, viz.-
B. Note Refund Rules
In exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to section 28, read with clause (q) of the sub-section (1) and (2) of section 58, of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934) and in supersession of the Reserve Bank of India (Notes Refund) Rules, 1975, except as respect things done or omitted to be done before such supersession, the Central Board with the previous sanction of the Central Government, hereby makes the following rules for specifying the circumstances in, and the conditions and limitations subject to which, the value of lost, stolen, mutilated or imperfect note may be refunded as a matter of grace, namely:-.
1. Short title, application and commencement :-
(1) These rules may be called the Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules, 2009 and further amended vide Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Amendment Rules, 2018.
(2) They shall apply to a note, which is a legal tender on the date of its presentation before the Bank
(3) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires:-
(a) "Act” means the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (2 of 1934);
(b) ‘Bank’ means the Reserve Bank of India constituted by section 2 of the Act;
(c) "Bank note" means any note issued by the Bank, but does not include a Government note other than one rupees note, which has been deemed to be bank note as per the Notification no. G.S.R 426, dated the 28th March, 1980 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs;
(d) "essential features" means the features, including security features, which are necessary for the identification of a note, namely-,
Explanation: For the purposes of this clause,
(B) the essential features of a note have been enumerated with a view to help the prescribed officer to establish the genuineness or otherwise of a mutilated note;
(e) "Government note" means any note issued by the Central Government or supplied by the Central Government to the Bank and issued by the Bank, provided the liability for the payment of the value in respect of such note has devolved on and been taken over by the Bank;
(f) "imperfect note" means any note, which is wholly or partially, obliterated, shrunk, washed, altered or indecipherable but does not include a mutilated note;
(g) "mutilated note" means a note of which a portion is missing or which is composed of more than two pieces;
(h) "mismatched note" means a mutilated note which has been formed by joining a half note of any one note to a half note of another note:
Explanation: For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that a mismatched note can be identified on the basis of number, signature etc. and /or after examining other security features;
(i) ‘note" means a Bank note or a Government note;
(j) ‘Prescribed Officer’ means any officer of the Issue Department of the Bank or any officer of an agent of the Bank/ designated by the Bank by arrangement through agreement in this behalf as authorised to receive mutilated notes for adjudication under these rules;
(k) "soiled note:" means a note which, has become dirty due to usage and also includes a two piece note pasted together wherein both the pieces presented belong to the same note, and form the entire note.
Words and expression used herein not defined but defined in the Act have the same meaning as assigned to them in the Act.
3. Decision on Adjudication of mutilated note– If any dispute arises in relation to adjudication of mutilated note the same shall be referred to the Bank for its decision and its decision shall be binding on the claimant, his nominees and legal heirs or representatives as the case may be.
4. Presentation and disposal of claim– A claim in respect of any note may be presented before the Prescribed Officer for adjudication and payment of value under these rules.
5. Right to call for information or to hold enquiries-The prescribed officer may, if it is considered necessary so to do, call for any information or hold any inquiry relating to any claim presented before him under these rules, and where the genuineness of the note is doubtful, he shall send such doubtful note for expert opinion to the General Manager, Currency Note Press, Nashik Road or to any other authority as designated under any law in force for this purpose.
6. General provisions in relation to all claims-
(1) No claim in respect of a note, which is alleged to have been stolen, lost or wholly destroyed, shall be entertained.
(2) If the Prescribed Officer is satisfied that a mutilated note presented before him is one which appears to have been cancelled at any office of the Bank or the claim is one which appears to have already been paid under these rules, he may, after making enquiries under rule 5 above reject the claim on such note.
(3) A claim in respect of a note, which, –
7. Imperfect note – The value of an imperfect note may be paid for full value/half value as specified in the tables given in rule 8, if-,
8. Mutilated notes-
(1) The adjudication of claims in respect of notes of less than fifty rupees denomination shall be made in the following manner, namely,
(i) if the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is more than 50 percent of the area of the respective denomination, rounded off to the next complete square centimetre, full value on mutilated notes of the above denominations shall be payable;
(ii) If the area of the largest undivided piece of the note presented is less than or equal to 50 percent of the area of the note, the claim shall be rejected.
Explanation: For the purposes of this sub-rule, it is hereby clarified that the value of a mutilated note of less than rupees fifty denomination may be refunded in full if the undivided area of the single largest piece of the note is as specified in column (5) of the Table 1 below.
(2) The payment of claim in respect of note of rupees fifty and above denominations shall be made in the following manner, namely-,
(i) Full value of the mutilated notes of the above denominations shall be payable if the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is more than 80 percent of the area of the respective denomination rounded off to the next complete square centimeter;
(ii) if the undivided area of the single largest undivided piece of the note presented is equal to or more than 40 percent and less than or equal to 80 percent of the area of the respective denomination rounded off to the next complete square centimeter, half the value of the note is payable.
(iii) If the area of the single largest undivided piece of the note is less than 40 percent, no value shall be payable, and the claim shall be rejected.
(iv) if the claim of mutilated notes of rupees fifty and above denominations consist of a note composed of two pieces of the same note and the two pieces, individually have an area equal to or more than 40 percent of the total area of the note in that denomination, then the claim may be refunded for full value of the note.
Explanation: For the purposes of this sub-rule, it is hereby clarified that the value of a mutilated note of equal to or more than rupees fifty denomination may be refunded in full or half, as the case may be, if the minimum undivided area of the single largest piece of the note is as specified in column (5) or (6) of the Table 2 below.
9. Payment of claim in respect of mismatched note– The payment of claim in respect of a mismatched note may be dealt with as follows, namely-,
10. Claimants to be bound by rules-
(1) Any payment which is provided under these rules shall be made only as matter of grace and the Bank may, as it deems fit, from time to time issue such supplementary or detailed instructions for carrying out the provisions of these rules, for the guidance of the Prescribed Officer.
(2) Any person who makes any claim on account of an imperfect note or mutilated note shall be deemed to have made the said claim under the proviso to section 28 of the Act and subject to the provisions of these rules, which shall be deemed to be binding on all claimants and their heirs or assigns.
11. Retention and destruction of note– Notwithstanding the denomination of a note or the decision of the Prescribed Officer on the claim, a note presented before the Prescribed Officer for the purpose of making a claim shall be retained and destroyed or otherwise disposed of by the Bank in the following manner, namely-,
12. Payment to Legal heirs or nominees-
(1) If a claimant who has submitted a claim under these rules, is dead, his legal representatives shall be eligible to receive the payment due to the claimant subject to the determination of the claim by the Prescribed Officer.
(2) The legal representatives shall be entitled to receive the payment due to the claimant, if any, upon furnishing to the Prescribed Officer an indemnity bond executed by the legal representative in favour of the branch or office of the Bank or any other institution or entity as designated by the Bank for this purpose;
Provided payment upto an amount of rupees five hundred may be made to the legal heir of the claimant on a declaration for this purpose.
(3) In case of mutilated note presented at the Bank through Triple Lock Receptacle (TLR) cover, the tenderer shall indicate his name and address alongwith other details, such as, bank account number, etc. as specified on the cover, and the individual tenderers, may, at their option, in addition, also indicate on the cover, the name and address of the nominee who may receive the amount that is determined to be due on the claim without production of indemnity, subject to proper identification.
13. Printed Forms– Where any indemnity bond as referred to in rule 12 is to be executed in favour of the Bank a printed copy of the bond shall be supplied free of cost to the claimant or the person eligible to receive the payment under these rules.
14. Stamp Duty- The value of the stamp duty on the indemnity bond shall be paid by the person executing the bond.
15. Procedure when payee is untraced-
(1) In case of the note having been adjudicated at the office of the Bank, the value or part of the value of a note is payable to the claimant and if such claimant, is not found or is dead, his legal representatives or the nominee specified by him cannot be found or fails within a period of three months from the date of communication to him the decision to take steps to receive payment, the amount payable shall be paid to the Banking Department of the Bank.
(2) In case of the mutilated note having been adjudicated at the branch of designated bank or other entities, such payment may be credited with the Issue Office of the Bank after a period of three months from the date of communication to the tenderer of the decision to take steps to receive the exchange value.
1. Branches where facilities are available:
For the benefit and convenience of the public, Reserve Bank of India has authorized the designated branches of the banks to accept, exchange and pay the admissible exchange value of mutilated notes in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India (Note Refund) Rules, 2009 or reject such mutilated notes as are not payable under these Rules.
2. Which notes shall be accepted:
The branches shall accept notes in the denomination of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 (and such other denominations of notes that may be issued in future) for exchange under the Rules.
Further, such notes which have turned extremely brittle or are badly burnt, charred, inseparably stuck together and therefore cannot withstand further handling or which may lose their original identity with the passage of time shall not be accepted by the branches for exchange. The holder/s of such notes may be advised to tender them to the In- charge, Issue Department of the Reserve Bank of India under whose jurisdiction the currency chest falls where such notes will be examined under Special Procedure.
3. From whom notes shall be accepted
The branches shall freely accept the notes from any one who wishes to get his/her mutilated notes exchanged from the branch. For serving a larger section of the public the branch may, if necessary impose a reasonable restriction on the number of the notes to be tendered at a time by an individual tenderer. Large quantity of notes may be accepted from the Government Departments and banks by mutual arrangements. The branches shall take steps to see that the exchange facilities are not cornered by private money changers or professional dealers of defective notes.
4. How the notes should be accepted
The notes may be accepted over the counter. On receipt of the notes,a paper token in form DN –I in duplicate indicating the number of pieces of notes and their value in each denomination may be prepared. The receiving staff /official should also authenticate the total pieces and value on both copies of the token by subscribing his initials. The original should be handed over to the tenderer. The duplicate should be attached to the notes and the token together with the notes should be passed on to the prescribed officer for adjudication. The notes should be securely fastened to the relative tokens to avoid mix-up of tenders covered by different tokens. It should further be ensured that the notes do not get damaged during receipt and transmission to the prescribed officer. The paper tokens should be serially numbered. To avoid disputes that may be raised by the tenderers in respect of rejected notes, it is advisable to write the token number on all the notes tendered. The details of each tender should be recorded in the register inform DN-2.
5. Prescribed Officer – Adjudication and payment:
Prescribed officer is the officer who has been authorized to adjudicate the mutilated notes by the designated branch as defined in Section 2(j) of the RBI (Note Refund) Rules 2009 for the purpose of adjudication of the mutilated notes under the Rules. He shall examine each and every mutilated note on its merit and decide its payablity strictly according to the Rules. He shall record his ‘Pay’ order by subscribing his initial to a pay stamp, to be affixed on the notes, which are found payable by him under the Rules. Similarly, he shall, by subscribing his initials to dated ‘Reject’ stamp affixed on the note, record his rejection order indicating rules 6(3),8(1)(ii) ,8(2)(iii) and Explanation (d) under which the claim is rejected. The pay or rejection order should be put on front side of the note and not on any paper used for pasting the notes etc. or on the reverse side of the note. The prescribed officer shall also record his orders on the duplicate paper token attached etc. the notes and get the rejection advice in form DN-3 prepared. The notes with the covering token should then be sent back to the counter for making payment to the tenderer.
The Prescribed Officer may if necessary, get the badly pasted notes, re-pasted before their adjudication. He shall act with due diligence while exercising the powers under these Rules in order to ensure that no notes payable under them are rejected and no notes not payable are paid. If any paid notes are later on found by Reserve Bank of India not to be payable under the above Rules, the Bank may recover the value of loss from such of the authorized bank. The authorized bank branch shall abide by the decisions of the Reserve Bank of India, in this regard, who in pursuance of the above Rules is the ultimate authority in whom the powers to make, issue, amend, interpret and enforce the Rules are vested.
After receipt of the notes with the covering paper token from the prescribed officer, the counter staff shall check that the PAY and REJECT orders have been properly recorded on all the notes and the paper token. He shall then pay to the tenderer the exchange value of the notes ordered to be paid and also issue him rejection advice in form DN-3 in respect of rejected notes, if any, on his surrendering the original token issued to him with his name and address duly written on the reverse of it. He shall then affix the dated ‘PAID’ stamp on the notes (on the obverse side) on which the exchange value is paid. In no case the rejected notes shall be given back to the tenderer. After completion of payment, the paid and the rejected notes should be segregated. The original token surrendered by the tenderer should be attached to the rejected notes. It should be carefully noted that notes on which half value has been paid should be kept with the rejected notes for easy retrieval, should the tenderer choose subsequently to question the payment of half value instead of full value. In the branches which do not have a currency chest of the Reserve Bank of India, the paid and rejected notes shall be held separately along with branch cash balance. The Branch Manager shall have, however, overall responsibility for the proper and safe custody of the notes. It must be clearly understood that both paid and rejected notes are to be retained by the bank on behalf of the Reserve Bank of India and their disposal in any manner will be subject to such directions that the Reserve Bank may give in this regard.
In the branches having currency chests, the ‘paid’ notes only shall be deposited in the currency chest in multiples of Rs.500/- with a minimum of Rs.1000/-. The half value paid notes and rejected notes shall, however, be held separately along with the cash balance of the branch.
7. Accounting for notes adjudicated
The full value paid notes may be treated on par with non-issuable notes and shall be kept as part of the currency chest balances following the procedure prescribed for depositing non-issuable notes. These notes should be shown in the currency chest slip as non-issuable notes. The paid notes shall be held distinct by segregating them from soiled notes to be sent to the Reserve Bank of India and storing them in separate receptacle. These notes may be packed separately and sent along with soiled notes at the time of remitting soiled notes to the Issue Department of Reserve Bank of India. The half value notes and the rejected notes shall be kept separately along with the cash balance of the branch and in no case they shall be kept deposited with the full value paid notes in the chest.
The non-chest branches shall send notes adjudicated by them for deposit to the linked currency chest who in turn will remit to the Reserve Bank of India alongwith soiled note remittance.
8. Verification and transfer of adjudicated notes:
Notes adjudicated for full value may be sent along with the soiled note remittance separately. A qualitative and quantitative verification of such notes would be undertaken in Reserve Bank of India. Such notes would be treated as a chest remittance and accounted for accordingly.
Half Value paid notes and Rejected notes may be sent separately to Claim Section, Issue Department of RBI. The prescribed officer should ensure that the preservation period of three months as laid down in para 11(b) of the Rules note is over, before sending them to RBI. However the details of the tenderer in DN-2 has to be preserved for payment to him. These notes would be accounted as a receipt from that currency chest-holding branch. These notes would be subject to audit at the Reserve Bank of India to ensure that none of the rejected notes are payable for any value and none of the half value paid notes payable for full value. As the half value paid and rejected notes would have already completed the required period of preservation, they would be destroyed by the Issue Department of Reserve Bank of India as deemed appropriate.
9. Forged Notes
If during the course of adjudication of mutilated notes, any note is suspected to be forged or is found to be forged, it should be impounded by the Prescribed Officer by affixing ‘COUNTERFEIT NOTE IMPOUNDED’ stamps with his initial therein. The procedure laid down in regard to handling of forged notes may be followed. For ready reference on detection of forged note, the Salient features of genuine notes’ are given in Annexure.
i) Only those notes which are mutilated should be examined and adjudicated by the Prescribed Officer. Soiled notes (which include two piece notes having middle or near middle cut either horizontally or vertically) should be freely accepted and exchanged at all branches including currency chest branch.
ii) Every effort should be made to pay the exchange value in minimum possible time, but in any case it should be on the same day. To facilitate banking habits, exchange value should be credited to the account through ECS or paid by way of Banker Cheque or Demand Drafts.
iii) The Prescribed Officer should examine the tendered notes with due care. Notes appear to be doubtful or built-up should be examined against a table-lamp to establish the size of the largest undivided piece of the note which is the basic criteria of exchange of notes.
iv) The Prescribed Officer should record his pay order in red ink and arrange to have the ‘PAY’ stamp affixed on it immediately. The ‘PAY stamp should be held in his custody to avoid misuse.
v) Requests for expression of opinion on defective notes regarding their payability or otherwise should not be entertained.
vi) No requests for inspection of or return of the notes tendered for exchange or for any information relating to them should be entertained.
11. Accessories for Prescribed Officers:
The Prescribed Officers should be equipped with the following accessories to enable them to exercise better judgement while handling defective notes: –
12. Display over Notice Board:
The Branch Manager shall arrange to display outside the branch premises the following board for information of the public in Hindi, English and local language:
"Mutilated notes are accepted and exchanged here"
Inside the banking hall and above the counter where mutilated notes will be accepted, the following board will be displayed:
The Mahatma Gandhi Series of banknotes contain the Mahatma Gandhi watermark with a light and shade effect and multi-directional lines in the watermark window.
Rs.1000 notes introduced in October 2000 contain a readable, windowed security thread alternately visible on the obverse with the inscriptions ‘Bharat’ (in Hindi), ‘1000’ and ‘RBI’, but totally embedded on the reverse. The Rs.500 and Rs.100 notes have a security thread with similar visible features and inscription ‘Bharat’ (in Hindi), and ‘RBI’. When held against the light, the security thread on Rs.1000, Rs.500 and Rs.100 can be seen as one continuous line. The Rs.5, Rs.10, Rs.20 and Rs.50 notes contain a readable, fully embedded windowed security thread with the inscription ‘Bharat’ (in Hindi), and ‘RBI’. The security thread appears to the left of the Mahatma’s portrait. Notes issued prior to the introduction of the Mahatma Gandhi Series have a plain, non-readable fully embedded security thread.
On the obverse side of Rs.1000, Rs.500, Rs.100, Rs.50 and Rs.20 notes, a vertical band on the right side of the Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait contains a latent image showing the respective denominational value in numeral. The latent image is visible only when the note is held horizontally at eye level.
This feature appears between the vertical band and Mahatma Gandhi portrait. It contains the word ‘RBI’ in Rs.5 and Rs.10. The notes of Rs.20 and above also contain the denominational value of the notes in microletters. This feature can be seen better under a magnifying glass.
The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, the Reserve Bank seal, guarantee and promise clause, Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left, RBI Governor’s signature are printed in intaglio i.e. in raised prints, which can be felt by touch, in Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.1000 notes.
A special feature in intaglio has been introduced on the left of the watermark window on all notes except Rs.10/- note. This feature is in different shapes for various denominations (Rs. 20-Vertical Rectangle, Rs.50-Square, Rs.100-Triangle, Rs.500-Circle, Rs.1000-Diamond) and helps the visually impaired to identify the denomination.
Number panels of the notes are printed in fluorescent ink. The notes also have optical fibres. Both can be seen when the notes are exposed to ultra-violet lamp.
Optically Variable Ink
This is a new security feature incorporated in the Rs.1000 and Rs.500 notes with revised colour scheme introduced in November 2000. The numeral 1000 and 500 on the obverse of Rs.1000 and Rs.500 notes respectively is printed in optically variable ink viz., a colour-shifting ink. The colour of the numeral 1000/500 appears green when the note is held flat but would change to blue when the note is held at an angle.
See through Register
The small floral design printed both on the front (hollow) and back (filled up) of the note in the middle of the vertical band next to the Watermark has an accurate back to back registration. The design will appear as one floral design when seen against the light.
Source: RBI Notification