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Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Reserve Bank of India

The Reserve Bank of India, which is the central bank of our nation, was established in 1935 under R.B.I.Act 1934. It took over the currency issue authority and credit control from the then Imperial Bank of India. The Bank was nationalised in 1948.


Central Board of Directors : 20 Members; Headquarters : Bombay. This consists of:

(i) A Governor and not more than 4 Deputy Governors appointed by the Central Government. The Governor is the Chief Executive Authority or Chairman of the Bank.

(ii) 4 Directors nominated by Central Government from local Boards of Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Hew Delhi.

(iii) 10 Directors nominated by Central Government as per Sn.8(i)(c).

(iv) One Government official nominated by Central Government. Functions : Many important functions are saddled on R.B.I.

Briefly they are :

(i) It issues and regulates "Currency" in India (Issue Department).

(ii) It acts as a banker to the Central Government and also to State Governments, and

also manages the public debts.

(iii) It acts as bankers bank i.e., as banker to all commercial Banks. All commercial

Banks keep and maintain their accounts with R.B.I, i.e., they keep deposits with R.B.I, and

borrow when necessary.

(iv) It controls credits to ensure price stability.

(v) It maintains the "internal value" of the " Indian Rupee" in India and also its

"external value" i.e., against foreign currencies.

(vi) Promotional activities or functions: It promotes sound economic growth by issuing guidelines to all Banking Institutions in India. In this regard it has

(a) established a"Bill Market Scheme",

(b) helped in establishing financial corporations in the field ofagriculture, Industry, etc, also extending Banking facilities to rural areas.

(c) has helped thecommercial Banks to open branches -in foreign countries and also in promoting exports andimports by opening EXIM Bank etc.

(vii) It controls the activities of all commercial Banks under the Banking Regulations Act 1949. It has the power of issuing Licences, to open inspect the banks : It has

wide powers leading to over-all control of the banks... It has the power of "Select Credit

Control" i.e., Advancing Policies, Rates of interest etc

(viii) It controls the volume of total credit given by the Banks by resorting to

(a) fixation of rate of interest; ,

(b) by open 'market operation and

(c) by specifying reserve requirements.

(ix) It may require commercial banks to maintain Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR),

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) etc.

(x) It may issue! directions and orders to the Banks andthese are final and binding.


An assessment of the working of the RBI shows that though there are both achievements and failure largely it has been a success. It is rightly claimed that the inauguration of the RBI has "inaugurated a new era of financial stability. Banking reform. and extension and re-orientation of the money market". The recent scam scandal has shown how the RBI is still in the process of becoming perfect, and, it is now working with alertness to peg up loop-holes and to make the system fool-proof to gain the confidence of the people.

Banking Companies :

The Banking Regulations Act 1949 regulates the functions of the various banking companies and corporations. in India and also provides for the social control over banks.

The act applies to

(1) all nationalised Banks

(2) non-nationalized Banks and

(3) co-operativeBanks.

Functions and services

Banking means accepting of deposits of money from the public for the purpose of

investment, repayable on demand or otherwise (sn.5 (b) Banking Regulations Act.

Banking company means any company which transacts the business of banking in

India Sn 5(c) .It further clarifies that if a company is formed for trade or manufacture

and accepts " deposit from the public”, it is not a banking company.

Functions Sn .6"

i)Business of banking is the major business of the Banking company.

ii) Borrowing of money, lending of money, with or without security, dealing with Bill of Exchange, hundis, Bill of Lading [ B/L] or other such instruments.

(iii) Issuing of LC (letter of credit ) and travellers cheques, Credit cards.

(iv) Buying and selling of Foreign Exchange.

(v) Purchasing or selling of debentures, shares etc

(vi) Providing safe-deposit vaults,

(vii) Acting as agent of Government or local authority, clearing of goods.

(viii.) Participating in issuing of public or private issues or other shares, stocks etc. of


(ix) Carrying on every kind of guarantee and indemnity business

(x)Undertaking and executing trusts ,

(xi) undertaking the administration of estates as executer, trustee, etc;,

(xii) Making payments towards pensions, insurances, electric Bills.water

(xiii) The Banking company may acquire construct and maintain buildings in running

its business.

(xiv) Se!l ,lease, ,mortgage or exchange the property of the Company.

General :

The Banking company is empowered to do all things incidental or conducive to the

promotion or advancement of the business of the company.

Prohibition :

The Banking company is prohibited from engaging itself in any activity other than

what is stated in the Banking Regulations Act.

Nationalization of Banks : 1969—Concept of Social Control :

"Social Control" with reference to Banks and Banking companies came into vogue in 1967,with the Government at the centre proposing io impose social controls over Banks by

(i) establishing the N.C.C. (National Credit Council) and

(ii) introducing legislative

measures and controls in "Banking Regulation Act". After India became independent, the Government at the centre enunciated its policy of "Socialistic Pattern of Society"—meaning equitable distribution of wealth, through democratic means.It introduced the mixed economy : (i) public sector controlled by Government and

(ii) private sector to function on its own.

The private sector was controlled by M.R.T.P.Act (Monopolies & Restricted Trade Practices Act 1969). The public sector could grow by nationalisation of Industries and Institutions. The banking system in India in the private sector had many basic weaknesses :

(i) There were complaints that the commercial banks were giving priority to large and medium scale industries and had neglected small scale industries.

(ii) Exports from India, to earn valuable foreign exchange had not been given top priority by Banks.

(iii) Small scale industries and imports were also neglected.

(iv) Banks' top officials who were framing the policies were directing the funds to big and established business houses.

(v) Banks were under the control of mostly industrialists. They were influencing in advancing to companies, firms or institutions where the Bank directors were substantially

interested. There were cases of credit giyen to hoarders, speculators-etc.

(vi) In some banks there were cases of mismanagement calling for immediate intervention by Government.

(vii) Agricultural and rural sectors had been much ignored by the commercial banks.

(viii) The Management of banks lacked professional expertise in many Banks.

Nationalisation :

The panacea, to cure the ills of the commercial hanks, was nationalisation of these

banks. This was done at two stages.

By the Parliament passing the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking Act 1970) which came into force from 19-7-1969. 14 Major commercial banks each having deposits of 50 crores and above were nationalised. The aggregate deposits were 2632 crores with 4130 branches.

(ii) 6 more banks were nationalised on 15-4-1980.

Process of Nationalisation : Prior to nationalisation, the central government announced in 1967 its decision to impose "social control" over banks.For this twq.steps were taken,

(i) Establishment of National Credit Council (N.C.C.)

(ii) Amending Banking Regulation Act to introduce legislative controls. The N.C.C. did a commendable job in .

(a) assessing the credit demands from various sectors;

(b) identifying the priority sectors and their requirements;

(c) finding out ways and means to guarantee the optimum and effective use of the overall resources.

Controls : The Banking Regulations Act was amended. It provided for

(a) Board of Directors having special qualifications in Banking in addition to


(b) Appointment of whole time Chairman;

(c) Restrictions on loans and advances to relatives of Directors etc.

Soclul Revolution : By an ordinance issued by the President on 19th July 1969,14 Banks were nationalised and taken over and this was called "Social Revolution" in the Banking system, The reason,for this sudden step was that public ownership of Banks would help mobilisation and development of national resources. These could be used on the basis of plans and priorities. Further, in many banks, the influence of the retired chairman and others was patent. They were hardly obeying the government's directions in implementing social control measures. Direct control was the solution. As the Government stated "the country cannot afford a trial and error" method, and hence, "an element of dynamism and new vigour" was needed in Banks. The Government further justified its stand stating that credits would be properly channelised on priority basis, banks could expand to rural areas.

Legal Mode : The Nationalisation was effected by an ordinance issued on 19-7-69. This was challenged before the Supreme Court (Rustom Cowarji Cooper V. Union of India) The court held that: , .

(i) Art 14 : There was discrimination as foreign and other Indian Banks were permitted but only 14 Banks were nationalised. LAW OF BANK1NO& INSURANCE

(ii) Art 19(i)(g) : Though the 14 Banks were allowed to do business, their assets,

premises, staff and names are taken away and hence it was impossible to do business. The

restriction was unreasonable.

(iii) Compensation provided were illusory.

These constitutional loopholes were suitably plugged by making amendments and

providing for :

(a) mode of transfer of 14 banks;

(b) payment of compensation;

(c) management of the 14 banks.


Effect of Nationalisation : .

The result of nationalisation is very significant and impressive.

(a) There is a rapid expansion and dispersal of branches of banks in cities, urban

towns, and semi urban and rural areas.

(b) There is a significant mobilisation of deposits.

(c) Banking facilities have been extended to the length and breadth of the country.

There is banking habit growing in the people.

(d) Banking advances and loans are being given on priority basis.

(e) The infra-structure in management is capable of taking quick decisions and

implement them down the line etc.

Conclusion :

There is complete re-orientation in banking system after nationalisation. There is ashift from "class" banking to "mass" banking, "asset-based" lending to "production-based" lending and from "elite" banking to "social banking".


Many eminent persons and economists have opposed nationalisation :

(i) The commercial banks were significantly responding to the social control concept, in a spirit of cooperation.-

(ii) There could be some evils in the private sectors, but nationalisation was not a solution. This has only substituted one evil for another.

(iii) There is no dynamism in public sector. There is room for corruption and favoritism. There is delay, there is lethargy in work. Service is poor. Evils in banks arerampant. .

(iv) Lack of competition in Banking has resulted in employees becoming public

sector minded, quality of service has dropped down.

(v) Due to government restraints, bank officials are afraid of taking decisions. This has badly hit the customers. The pros and cons of nationalisation have been recently studied by the Narasimhan Committee and many suggestions have been made. The latest trend is towards privatisation.

Bankers Books Evidence Act:

Banker's Books' Evidence Act 1891, is a very important law made exclusively for Bankers in India. This Act was amended in 1983. The Act has provided for special privileges to bankers as regards the mode of proving bank entries in their books and their production in Courts, and no further.

According to the Evidence Act, the contents of a document are to be proved before a court by producing the Original. The Bankers Evidence Act provides for a privilege and a Certified copy may be produced.

(i) Banker's Books mean ledgers, day books, cash books, account books and all other books used in the ordinary business of the Bank.

(ii) Certified Copy means a copy of any entry in the books of the bank together with a certificate at the foot that it is a true copy duly signed by the manager or chiefaccountant of the branch.

Further, there must be a certification that the entry is made in the ordinary course of banking business etc.Such a certificate is admissible in evidence in the court. It is a prima facie evidence of the existence of such entries as they are in the originals. The presumption is that these entries are genuine. But this is a rebuttable presumption. In C, Goswami V. Gauhati Bank Ltd., the bank had produced a certificate copy from its branch that Rs. 10,000 had been advanced to plaintiff. Petitioners challenged the entries. The Supreme Court held, that the' certified copy was admissible, but when challenged the entries are to be proved by the Bank with the originals.

The provisions contained in the Bankers Books Evidence Act have been upheld by the courts (Punjab National Bank V.Vmod Kumar).


When the Bank is not a party to a suit, no officer of the Bank shall be compelled to give evidence ,to appear or produce documents except under court orders. Investigation by police officer : Police, not be below the rank of Superintendent of Police may compel the bank to produce the books for investigation purposes, under the Cr.P.C. A party to a legal proceedings may apply to the Judge requesting him to issue an order to the other party to produce the certified copies as required by law.


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