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What are soiled, mutilated and imperfect banknotes?

Soiled Notes

Soiled notes are those which have become dirty and slightly cut. Notes which have numbers on two ends, i.e. notes in the denomination of Rs.10 and above which are in two pieces, are also treated as soiled note.
The cut in such notes, should, however, not have passed through the number panels. All these notes can be exchanged at the counters of any public sector bank branch, any currency chest branch of a private sector bank or any Issue Office of the Reserve Bank of India. There is no need to fill any form for doing this.

Mutilated Notes

Mutilated banknote is a banknote, of which a portion is missing or which is composed of more than two pieces.
Essential portions in a currency note are name of issuing authority, guarantee, promise clause, signature, Ashoka Pillar emblem/portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, water mark. Refund value of these notes is, however, paid as per RBI(Note Refund) Rules.
These can also be exchanged at the counters of any public sector bank branch, any currency chest branch of a private sector bank or any Issue Office of the RBI without filling any form.

Imperfect banknote

Imperfect banknote means any banknote, which is wholly or partially, obliterated, shrunk, washed, altered or indecipherable but does not include a mutilated banknote.

Other facilities for exchange

To suit public convenience, the exchange facility for mutilated notes is also offered through TLR(Triple Lock Receptacle) covers. Members of public can obtain from the Enquiry Counter of the Reserve Bank a TLR cover and put their notes in the cover with particulars, such as, name, address, denominations of notes deposited, etc. filled in the columns provided on the cover, close it and deposit it in a box called Triple Lock Receptacle against issue of a paper token. This box is kept at the Enquiry counter at each Issue Office of the Reserve Bank. The admissible exchange value of the mutilated notes will be remitted by means of a bank draft or a pay order. Mutilated notes can also be sent to any of the RBI offices by registered/insured post.

Excessively soiled, brittle, burnt notes

Notes which have become excessively soiled, brittle or are burnt and, therefore, cannot withstand normal handling can be exchanged only at Issue Office of the RBI. Persons holding such notes may approach the Officer-in-charge of the Claims Section, Issue Department of the Reserve Bank for this purpose.

Legal tender:

As per provisions of coinage Act 1996, bank notes, currency notes and coins (Re. 1 and above) are legal tender for unlimited amount. The subsidiary coins (below Re. 1) are legal tenders for sum not exceeding Re 1. Issue of 1, 2 and 3 paisa coins discontinued wef Sep 16, 1981.

Currency chest:

Currency chests are operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) so that they can provide good quality currency notes to the public. However, RBI has appointed commercial banks to open and monitor currency chests on behalf of RBI. The money kept in currency chests in the commercial banks is considered to be kept in RBI.

Small coin depot:

The bank branches are also authorized to establish Small Coin Depots to stock small coins. The Small Coin Depots also distribute small coins to other bank branches in their area of operation.
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