Details of expenditure incurred during last six financial years by RBI to increase public awareness regarding banking ombudsman was asked - CIC referred to SC in Bandhopadhyay case; RTI Act provides access to all information that is available & existing
1. Vide his RTI application dated 15.8.2014, the appellant sought to know the total expenditure incurred during last six financial years by RBI to promote banking ombudsman to make the public aware, separately and state wise, on electronic media, print media and in awareness programmes organized by RBI where it related to banking ombudsman.
2. In his response dated 9.10.2014, the CPIO provided the total expenditure incurred by the 15 offices of the banking ombudsmen for the years 2007-08 to 2012-13, separately. He held that expenditure on the print, electronic media, etc was spread across various divisional offices and its collection would result in disproportionate diversion of resources. The FAA, who had been approached, upheld the CIPO decision. Dissatisfied, the appellant approached the Commission.
3. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that the year wise expenditure given by the RBI does not give any details of the amounts spent on the particular activities as asked by him but appeared to be the total cost of running the ombudsman’s offices. The respondents stated that they had provided information by collecting it from the Annual Reports submitted by the Banking Ombudsmen and the detailed break up would be available in the regional offices/branch offices. They had provided the expenditure as it was available with them. Besides, as explained by the FAA, collection and collation of information from 15 branch offices and respective regional offices would have resulted in disproportionate diversion of resources.
4. The Commission accepts the submissions of the respondents. The Supreme Court in the case of CBSE vs Aditya Bandhopadhyay has observed as follows :- “35. At this juncture, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about the RTI Act. The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. This is clear from a combined reading of section 3 and the definitions of ‘information’ and ‘right to information’ under clauses (f) and (j) of section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analysed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such nonavailable information and then furnish it to an applicant…..”
5. In view of the above, the decision of the FAA is upheld. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Ajay Kumar Maurya v. Reserve Bank of India in Appeal No . CIC/MP/A/2015/000873