APRIL 27, Saturday
* Front Page
Supreme Court gives RBI ‘last chance’ to alter disclosure policy
‘Existing guidelines contrary to 2015 ruling on sharing information under RTI Act’
Legal Correspondent, NEW DELHI
The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) “a last opportunity” to withdraw a November 2016 Disclosure Policy to the extent to which it stonewalls revelation of every other kind of information under the Right to Information Act, including the list of wilful defaulters and annual inspection reports.
A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.R. Shah found the policy of the central bank to be directly contrary to the court’s judgment of December 2015 that the RBI could not withhold information sought under the RTI Act.
The Bench was hearing contempt petitions filed against the RBI for not complying with the 2015 judgment.
“We give them a last opportunity to withdraw the disclosure policy in so far as it contains exemptions which are contrary to the directions issued by this court,” Justice Rao said, giving an ultimatum in the 12-page verdict.
The 2015 judgment had rejected the RBI’s argument that it could refuse information sought under the RTI Act on the grounds of economic interest, commercial confidence, fiduciary relationship or public interest.
‘No fiduciary ties’
The court had observed that there was “no fiduciary relationship between the RBI and the financial institutions”.
It had reminded the RBI that it had the statutory duty to uphold the interests of the public at large, the depositors, the economy and the banking sector. “This court was also of the opinion that the RBI should act with transparency and not hide information that might embarrass the individual banks,” Justice Rao wrote.