CIC denies directing RBI to disclose bank defaulters list in view of pending case before Supreme Court. It would be judicious to await the final outcome-CIC
ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1263 (2017) (05) CIC
Date/Month of Pronouncement: May, 2017
Important Case Laws Cited/relied upon:
Central for Public Interest Litigation Vs. Housing & Urban Development Corp. Ltd. & Ors.
RBI Vs. Jayantilal N. Mistry
Brief Facts of the Case:
In 2013, one appellant namely, Shri Subhash Chandra Agrawal had made a RTI application to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) inter alia seeking list of bank-defaulters of public sector banks with outstanding above rupees one crore each, mentioning names of directors/partners etc. of such defaulting companies/firms.
However, RBI had denied such information on the ground that the same is held in fiduciary capacity and is exempt from disclosure u/s 8(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the RTI Act.
The first appellate authority (FAA) upheld the order of CPIO, RBI. Aggrieved with the decision of the FAA, the respondent approached the Commission in second appeal.
The matter was earlier heard by the Single Bench but it was considered appropriate to refer the cases to a larger Bench, Hence, a Division Bench of the Commission was constituted.
Observation made by CIC:
The CIC observed that in a case where the petitioner requested to make public the names of defaulters in excess of Rs. 500 crores from different institutions, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 2016 held as under
“The Government has therefore acting in right earnest set up a Committee to look into the nature and extent of the problem and the proposed reforms. The Committee, we are told has already held several meetings and is about to finalize its report with recommendations. It will, therefore, not be proper at this stage to prevent the Committee from taking the proceedings to their logical conclusion especially when the recommendations to be made by the Committee are subject to scrutiny of this Court as a/so of the. petitioners. As regards the Government’s resolve to reform the statutory and other mechanism for recovery of the NPAs through the DRT and SARFAESI Act we direct that a· comprehensive note indicating the Government’s action plan in that direction may be filed, if so advised in a sealed cover for the perusal of this Court.
It was held that since a similar issue is pending adjudication before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, it would be judicious to await the final outcome from the Hon’ble Supreme Court. However, on receipt of the final outcome of the judgment, , the appellant shall be at liberty to file a second appeal afresh, if he so desires.