Can account details of the entity who had defrauded a person be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the State Bank of India (SBI) seeking information about the account of a particular company whose two cheques issued to the appellant were dis-honoured on the ground of insufficient funds. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that on different occasions, the bank is giving different reasons as to why the cheques have been dishonoured. The appellant also stated that the irresponsive and insensitive attitude of the bank has led to tremendous pecuniary loss for her and she needs the information to file a criminal and civil suit against the entity who had defrauded her. The appellant also claimed that when the bank has acknowledged that the cheques have bounced, then it is the duty of the bank to provide the information. The appellant also said that she would be unable to proceed in the legal processes against the perpetrator of the illegal act if the information was denied. The respondent reiterated that the bank is under statutory obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the account holder.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the cheques have been dishonoured on account of insufficient funds. The Commission held that the appellant has made out a case for breach of trust and that it was in larger public interest that such an illegal act was not perpetrated on anybody else. The CIC directed the PIO to furnish the sought information to the appellant.
Citation: Mrs. Shashilata Verma v. State Bank of India in Decision No. CIC/DS/A/2011/004342/VS/01915
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1019
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