Absence of respondent during hearing may result in disclosure of information
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the State Bank of India (SBI) seeking information in respect of certain loan accounts, enquiry reports and related documents pertaining to disciplinary proceedings against him. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) informed the appellant that providing the information sought would violate the commercial confidence of the bank and would impede the process of investigation in various proceedings. Hence, the information sought was exempt from disclosure as per section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act. The FAA also stated that some of the information sought was in the nature of seeking clarifications which did not come under the definition of information as per section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; read with section 2(j) “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority and includes the right to- (i) inspection of work, documents, records; (ii) taking notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records; (iii) taking certified samples of material; (iv) obtaining information in the form of diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts where such information is stored in a computer or in any other device; of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that the bank has moved departmental proceedings against him and is now denying him crucial information that he needs to defend himself. The appellant also stated that the respondent has without application of mind denied him the information under technical clauses which was unjust. The respondent did not participate in the hearing.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the respondent to provide all the information to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. Abraham Joseph v. State Bank of India in Decision No. CIC/DS/A/2012/000279/VS/02204
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1107
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission