Did the bank inform procedure for withdrawal of pension amount of the deceased to the legal heirs etc was sought - CIC: The proviso to Section 8(1) (j) is a guiding factor & not a substantive provision which overrides the section; provide the information
Date of Decision : 21st January, 2016
1. The appellant Shri Laxmi Narayan submitted RTI application dated 16.12.2013 to the Central Public Information Officer, State Bank of India, Allahabad seeking account details of late Rudra Prasad s/o Kedar Nath pertaining to his pension account no. 30370277579; whether he had nominated any person in his pension account; the pensioner had died in 2009 but the bank did not inform the procedure for withdrawal of amount to the legal heirs; sought the details of such accounts in which the bank did not inform the legal heirs of those accounts etc. through five points.
2. The CPIO vide letter dated 20.01.2014 denied the information sought under the provisions of Section 8(1) (d) and (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 being third party information. Dissatisfied with the decision of the CPIO, the appellant filed an appeal before the first appellate authority (FAA) on 06.02.2014. The FAA vide order dated 13.03.2014 while upholding the decision of the CPIO, directed the CPIO to provide information on points 1 and 2, subject to the appellant submitting legal heir proof.
3. Thereafter dissatisfied with the decision of the respondents, the appellant submitted the two identical appeals to the Commission on 23.08.2014 stating that the CPIO and the FAA both had denied him information without explaining as to commercial confidence involved and there are a number of cases where the deceased account holders savings remain un-disbursed in the banks. He stated that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament shall not be denied to any person.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant was not present in spite of a notice of hearing having been sent to him. The respondents stated that the appellant wanted the details of his deceased father’s account but had not provided any proof of his legal- heirship, in spite of the first appellate authority mentioning this condition in his order. The appellant was not the nominee of the account therefore they were unable to provide him any information.
5. The appellant had raised the issue that ‘information which cannot be denied to the Parliament cannot be denied to him’ with reference
by the to the proviso of Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. This issue had been elaborately clarified by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in its decision dated 30.11.2009 in the matter of Union of India Thr. Director Vs. Central Information Commission & Ors [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 8396 of 2009 held:
“43. A proviso can be enacted legislature to serve several purposes. In Sundaram Pillai Vs. Patte Birman (1985) 1 SSC 591 the scope and purpose of a proviso and an explanation has been examined in detail. Normally, a proviso is meant to be an exception to something in the main enactment or to qualify something enacted therein which but for the proviso would be within the purview of the enactment. A proviso cannot be torn apart from the main enactment nor can it be used to qualify and set at naught, the object of the main enactment Sarthi on “Interpretation of Statutes”, referred to in the said judgment, states that a proviso is subordinate to the main section and one of the principles which can be applied in a given case is that a proviso would not enlarge an enactment except for compelling reasons. It is unusual to import legislation from a proviso into the body of the statute. But in exceptional cases a proviso in itself may amount to a substantive provision. The proviso in the present case is a guiding factor and not a substantive provision which overrides Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act. It does not undo or rewrite Section 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 and does not itself create any new right. The purpose is only to clarify that while deciding the question of larger public interest i.e. the question of balance between ‘public interest in form of right to privacy’ and ‘public interest in access to information’ is to be balanced.
6. Having considered the submissions of the respondents and perused the documents on file, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide information to the appellant on point 4 within fifteen days of receipt of this order and upholds the decision of respondents on the remaining points. The appeals are disposed of.
Citation: Shri Laxmi Narayan v. State Bank of India in Case No. CIC/MP/A/2015/001399
Case No. CIC/MP/A/2015/001402