Scribbled Currency are Legal Tender: WATCH OUT FOR EXEMPTIONS

Scribbled Currency


Many currency notes carry the love graffiti and other marks at the watermark section of the notes. The arts flourished inside the hearts of the couples are reflected in the currency notes. The tradition of scribbling the names of the loved one along with their names is in practice for many years. In fact even  the concept of writing the names in the Bank notes are adopted in the movies to portray their love. Example: ‘JJ” a Tamil and “Tumsa Nahin Dekha: A Love Story” a Hindi movie. There are many other romantic ways to portray someone’s love but not on the currency notes. These scribbled currency with love graffiti may seem romantic to your loved one but it is not legitimate. Though scribbling on the currency notes is not punishable offence it should be avoided considering the practical issues.

Then what is the big deal about the Scribbled notes?

Fake-SBI-notification scribbled currency

A fake SBI notification is trending in the social media stating that bank will not accept scribbled currency notes especially new 2000 and 500 notes. Though it is a rumour people started to believe it. Even instances of Bank Cashier is not exchanging the scribbled currencies at the counter has became viral in the news. During December 2015, like this a rumour had been spread across facebook and whatsapp. To dismiss it RBI Governor had given a statement saying it is a false and they are legal tender click here to see the official statement. So it is clear the scribbled currency is a legal currency but remember not all the scribbled currencies are legal. There are some exemptions in the legal tender of the scribbled currency.

Scribbled Currency notes RBI circular

RBI Clean Note Policy:

The RBI had introduced the clean note policy in 1999, requesting the bankers and public not to write on the currency notes. In 2002 also RBI had issued a circular to banks stating not to staple the Bank notes. It recommends the use of bands to increase the life of currency. Although writing on note is undesirable, the scribbled notes has legal tender. Since such notes are unfit, they will not be re-circulated for public use by RBI. They will simply call such notes as soiled notes.


RBI had given guidelines to bank and public, to facilitate the exchange of soiled and mutilated note under Reserve Bank Of India Note Refund Rule, 2009. This booklet contains rules and procedure to be followed while dealing with the soiled & mutilated notes. Under this rule, the following provision explains which type of scribbled notes will lose its legal tender so watch out for them.

Rule 6 (3) (ii) Reserve Bank Of India Note Refund Rule

The notes which are altered or disfigured with the intention to make it as higher denomination note are rejected under this clause.

Rule 6 (3) (iii) Reserve Bank Of India Note Refund Rule

The note carries any words, slogans or visible representations intended to convey the message of political or religious is rejected under this clause.  Even if the words, slogans or visible representations intended to convey the message of a entity/person is scribbled in the currency it may also lose its legal tender.


As a banker, even we write the counted numbers on the notes which should be strictly avoided. If it is not possible to refrain from writing due to any practical difficult please use pencil. Strictly avoid the pen; And don’t refuse to exchange soiled notes from any public without any reason; Because as per RBI circular, the bank can be levied penalty of Rs.10,000/- for not exchanging the soiled notes. So be careful when dealing with soiled currency. Have you ever come across situations like above during your banking career?. If so how did you handled that situation?. Please share your experience under the comment section below it may help our fellow bankers.

Comments (2)

  1. Yog Raj

    Is there any other recent press release by RBI especially after demonetisation

    1. Guru Bakyesvara Pandiyan (Post author)

      Yes there is a notification issued on 25th April 2017 by RBI


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