Correspondence between bank and insurance company pertaining to insurance policy which the bank had taken out in respect of the general burglary and theft policy – wrong section cited – denial actually u/s 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) - CIC: denial upheld
O R D E R
1. The appellant filed an RTI application on 2962012 requesting for copies of entire claim application together with enclosures initially submitted to the Insurance Company covering cash, other valuables against burglary, house breaking, hold ups, snatching of cash from counters and theft, etc.
2. The CPIO responded on 3172012. The appellant filed an appeal with the first appellate authority (FAA) on 482012. The FAA responded on 2982012, denying the information to the appellant under section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 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; of the RTI Act on grounds of commercial confidence and fiduciary relationship. The appellant approached the Commission on 2092012 in a second appeal.
3. I heard both the parties through videoconferencing. The appellant referred to his RTI application of 2962012 and reiterated the points on which the information was being sought. The appellant stated that he wanted the documents pertaining to the insurance policy which the bank had taken out in respect of the general burglary and theft policy which the bank has now invoked in context of an incident mentioned in the RTI application, i.e., of 262010.
4. The appellant stated that he wanted the documents and the correspondence between the bank and the insurance company.
5. The respondent stated that an incident had taken place as has also been acknowledged in the RTI request subsequent to which there was an enquiry and as the money had not been recovered as per due process, the bank had filed a claim. The respondent stated that his present understanding is that the company has still not paid the amount and those in the bank staff who had been held responsible after due investigation the bank had been proceeded against.
6. The respondent explained that the contract between the bank and the insurance company which is a matter of commercial confidence and also fiduciary in nature.
7. The respondent stated that the RTI request of 2962012 had been responded to by the CPIO on 3172012 in which the information was not disclosed under the exemption from disclosure clauses of the RTI Act, and section 8(h) of the Act was cited. The respondent further explained that when the matter came to the level of the FAA, he also denied the information who, instead of citing that section 8(h), cited section 8(d) and (e) of the RTI Act stating that this was a matter of fiduciary relationship.
8. What emerged from the hearing was that the appellant had no connection with this matter. He had no link with the matter of the bank and the insurance company relationship, and neither was he an employee of the bank.
9. The decision of the FAA is upheld. Appeal is disposed of. Copy of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri P.S. Sridharan v. State Bank of India in Decision No.CIC/VS/A/2012/001547/04908