CIC: Appellant’s RTI application arises from his personal dispute regarding sale of property; There is no larger public interest to justify breach of the bank’s fiduciary relationship with their customers and intimate action taken to recover loan
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application filed by the Appellant, seeking information on eight points regarding the action taken by the bank to recover loan amount from M/s Bitum Impex and related issues; as well as the details of loan outstanding in the account of M/s Ishvakoo and Mrs. Saroj Marwah, came up today. The information was denied by the CPIO under Section 8 (1) (d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act and his decision was upheld by the FAA. Aggrieved with the decision of the Respondents, the Appellant has approached the CIC in second appeal, in which he has challenged the decision of the Respondents, to deny the information, on the ground that it concerns public money given as loans to the above parties. He has also stated that he had sought information regarding a borrower declared “wilful defaulter” by the bank. According to the Appellant, the information sought by him does not in any way invade the privacy of the parties concerned.
2. The Appellant stated that M/s Bitum Impex have been given a cash credit facility by the Respondents. It is a sole proprietorship firm with Smt. Meenakshi Marwah as the sole proprietor. Her family members have also obtained credit facilities for M/s Sheetal Enterprises and M/s Ishvakoo Impex. The borrowers and guarantors in the above loans are from the family of Smt. Meenakshi Marwah, including her motherinlaw, Smt. Saroj Marwah. Smt. Saroj Marwah has also taken a CC facility and term loan from the bank against a property that she sold to the Appellant, without disclosing the bank’s charge on it. The Appellant further submitted that the information sought by him is only regarding the action taken by the bank to recover the amounts advanced by it and its disclosure would not invade anyone’s privacy, particularly since the borrower has been declared a wilful defaulter and information concerning the loan is already in the public domain. The Appellant also referred to a caution notice, issued by the Indian Bank in respect of the borrowers.
3. The Respondents reiterated their decision to deny the information. They stated that the borrower has not been declared a wilful defaulter so far. The Appellant insisted that this had already been done.
4. We have considered the records and the submissions of both the parties and note that the information sought by the Appellant is held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity and is exempted from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (e) of the RTI Act, in the absence of a finding of larger public interest. The Appellant’s RTI application arises from his personal dispute with Smt. Saroj Marwah regarding sale of her property to him. This dispute cannot become the ground of larger public interest to justify breach of the bank’s fiduciary relationship with their customers to disclose the information required by the Appellant. Even if it is assumed that the borrower has been declared a wilful defaulter, it would not make any difference to the above position, as the Appellant is not someone seeking information concerning loan defaulters in general, but has filed a targeted application to get information regarding loans of particular individuals and companies because of his personal dispute.
5. In view of the foregoing, we uphold the decision of the Respondents to deny the information under Section 8 (1) (e) in this case.
6. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Rakesh Kumar v. Bank of Maharashtra in File No. CIC/SH/A/2015/000355