The appellant purchased a property in auctioned by the bank - Later, the Bank informed DRAT that it had no documents available to justify the auction of the property - CIC: Provide information regarding sale of the mortgaged property & related issues
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application filed by the Appellant, seeking information on six points regarding sale of a mortgaged property by the bank and related issues, came up today.
2. The CPIO gave pointwise reply, but did not disclose the information in response to points No. 2 and 4 to 6 of the RTI application. His reply was upheld by the FAA, who stated that the Appellant had also filed a complaint to the CBI and, therefore, the information was exempted from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (h).
3. The representative of the Appellant prayed for direction to the Respondents to provide the information in response to points No. 2 and 4 to 6 of the RTI application. He stated that a loan obtained by one Shri B. Jagadeesan from the bank had become NPA. The bank auctioned his property, which was purchased by the Appellant. Shri B. Jagadeesan challenged the auction of his property at the DRT and later on at DRAT and for three years, the bank supported the stand of the Appellant concerning the purchase of the property by him. However, thereafter, suddenly the bank changed its stand and informed the DRAT that the Respondents had no documents available to justify the auction of the above property. As a result, the Appellant could not get the property that he had purchased and for which he had made the payment three years earlier to the bank and was refunded only the amount paid by him. He sought the information in the above context and cannot be treated as a third party to the information sought by him. The Respondents stated that when the case was at the DRAT, the Tribunal asked them to produce certain documents, which were not available with them. Therefore, the DRAT ruled against the auction of the property.
4. The representative of the Appellant cited paragraphs 39, 43, 44, 45 and 55 of the Supreme Court judgment dated 16.12.2015 in Reserve Bank of India vs. Jayantilal N. Mistry [Transferred case (Civil) No. 91 of 2015] in favour of the Appellant’s request for information.
5. We have considered the records and the submissions of both the parties and are of the view that in the light of the background of the matter given to us, the information sought at points No. 2 and 6 of the RTI application (concerning the letter of the competent authority of the bank to concede before the DRAT that no documents were available to justify the auction of the property and a copy of the instructions in that regard by the bank to their Counsel appearing before the DRAT) cannot be denied on the ground that it is information of commercial confidence. Further, the FAA, while invoking Section 8 (1) (h), has not justified its invocation by explaining as to how disclosure of the information would impede any investigation. Therefore, the CPIO is directed to provide the information (mentioned above), sought at points No. 2 and 6 of the RTI application, to the Appellant, free of charge, within fifteen days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. The information sought at points No. 4 and 5 regarding the correspondence between the bank and Shri B. Jagadeesan is exempted from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. The Appellant’s personal dispute with Shri B. Jagadeesan and the bank concerning the auctioned property cannot become the ground of larger public interest, warranting disclosure of this information.
6. With the above direction and observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri O. Varadaiah v. Union Bank of India in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/003044