Sandeep Singh Jadoun v. CPIO, DGEAT
In the Central Information Commission
Before Mr. M. Sridhar Acharyulu, CIC
Decided on November 16, 2018
Relevancy of the case: Defense under Section 43A and Intermediary Guidelines for denying disclosure of information under the RTI Act.
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 43A)
- The Right to Information Act, 2005 (Section 4, 7(9))
- The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (Section 8, 45(E))
Relevant Facts of the Case
- The appellant sought information about the number of wilful defaulters of Rs 50 crore and above for loans advanced by banks and other financial institutions, whether with or without guarantees, the names of guarantors, details of loans such as dates of sanction along with details of NPA accounts, etc.
- The appellant also wanted to know the cost and investment of the projects for employment generating schemes initiated by the Central Government between 2005 and 2018 along with the list of failed projects and projects which only existed on paper and were never introduced on the floor, with which the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) is concerned.
- The CPIO replied on 27.02.2018 on email to the appellant that the information sought is not maintained. He filed the first appeal wherein CPIOs reply was upheld, necessitating the second (present) appeal.
Mr. K. Panigrahy, CPIO, RBI:
- A reference was made to the provisions of Section 43A of the IT Act, 2000 and other rules under the aforementioned act, which inter-alia gives protection to sensitive personal data of customers of a body corporate.
Opinion of the Bench
- RBI is a statutory regulatory authority which has the function of supervising the functioning of banks and the banking sector of the country. It will protect the public interest and not the individual bank’s interest. RBI should, therefore, behave with honesty and not conceal details which could be humiliating for individual banks.
- Financial institutions are obligated to provide RBI with all information, and that information cannot be considered to be exchanged in a fiduciary relationship capacity.
- RBI was considered duty-bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and to share the information sought.
- The Central Information Commission sent a show-cause notice to the RBI Governor asking him to clarify why the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 should not be levied on him for deliberate disobedience of RTI provisions. It also directed RBI to disclose, within five days, bad debt details of defaulters worth more than Rs 1000 crore at the beginning, Rs 500 crore or less at a later stage and collect such information from banks in due course to update their voluntary disclosures from time to time as a practice under Section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.