Reasons for assigning the debt to another bank
The appellant sought information regarding the assigning of the debts of one Swadeshi Cement to M/s Raghupati Cement. The PIO had provided partial information and had denied to disclose the file noting showing the reasons for assigning the debt. The First Appellate Authority endorsed the decision of the PIO.
View of the CIC
The Commission deduced that it is a case in which the bank decided to assign the debt of a particular borrower to someone else. While admitting that the details of the decision making process by which the bank came to the conclusion that the loan could no longer be realised and would have to be assigned might contain information in the nature of commercial confidence for the bank, the Commission did not agree that the decision to assign it to a particular enterprise can be said to be commercially confidential. Therefore, the Commission held that the relevant file noting in which the competent authority arrived at this decision should be disclosed. The Commission directed the PIO to provide to photocopy of the relevant file noting in which such a decision had been taken along with any other information deemed relevant to answer the queries of the Appellant.
There is a fine distinction made by the Commission between the decision making process and the actual decision. There may be many similar cases where distinction making process may not be amenable to disclosure while the actual decision taken is liable for disclosure.
Citation: Shri Anil Batra v. Punjab National Bank in file No.CIC/SM/A/2011/000042