Bank details of a society can be accessed under the RTI Act by a third party
The state chief information commission (SIC) of Maharashtra has held that if a cooperative society is dissolved and a registrar-appointed administrator is looking after its functions, the bank details of the society can be accessed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by a third party.
An applicant had filed an application under the RTI Act by Dr Lalchandra Tiwari, president of NGO Sahayak, seeking information about the accounts of a society which was denied to him. As the information was denied to him, the matter ultimately came up before the SIC. The applicant had sought the copies of orders dissolving the societies which have been ordered to be provided. However, the balance sheet and pass book are yet to be disclosed. Madhukar Chaudhari, Commissioner for cooperation and registrar, cooperative societies, Maharashtra, said, “I haven’t seen the order yet and, hence, can’t say anything much on it.” He agreed that once an order has been issued by the commission, it has to be obeyed.
This landmark order has been hailed as one that would provide access to crucial monetary details of cooperative societies to even those who are not a member of the society about whom information has been sought. The applicant has claimed that around 19 cooperative housing societies in Navi Mumbai were run by administrators. It has been reported that the joint registrar has appointed himself as administrator in some cases amidst allegations of massive fraud to the tune of crores.