Can interest subvention disbursed to a particular account holder be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Canara Bank seeking information on the scheme of interest subvention for crop production loans and other details. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided part information while denying information related to details of the farmers who had not repaid and who were not considered for interest subvention under section 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 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 he wanted to have the information about a particular customer and the amount received from the government for payment and the amount actually disbursed to him. The respondent stated that the information being specifically sought now by the appellant had not been mentioned in the RTI application and they were not aware of the details at this particular point. They also stated that if the appellant applied to the respondent bank under the RTI Act, they would be able to consider his request under the provisions of law. The appellant stated that he is seeking information whether the benefit of the interest subvention have been passed on to his son-in-law which the bank can easily provide by simply informing him about the facts of the interest subvention disbursed to this particular account holder and the amount received from the government. The appellant stated that it is a matter of public interest to know the correct facts as he believed that this amount was not passed on to the particular account holder.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO to provide to the appellant the information sought by him.
Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; of the RTI Act prescribes certain information to be suo-motu made public. In many cases, it has been held that the public authority should disclose the details of the beneficiaries of a subsidy programme proactively.
Citation: Mr. V.S. Nathan v. Canara Bank RTI Section in Decision No. CIC/SM/A/2011/002461/VS/01717
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/997
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission