Information pertaining to an inspection carried by RBI in a cooperative bank - following the inspection, the bank was advised to take eviction action against the tenants, as the rental income activity was nonbanking – CIC: denial of correspondence upheld
O R D E R
1. The appellant filed an RTI application with the PIO on 10.1.2012 seeking copies of
(i) letters written by RBI to Gandhiganj Cooperative Bank Ltd., Bidar directing disposal of 13 commercial shops,
(ii) Audit Reports of RBI objecting on giving these shops for rental purpose; and
(iii) letters written to take steps to vacate the occupants in the ground floor of the complex. The PIO responded pointwise on 17.2.2012.
2. Not satisfied with the reply of the PIO, the appellant filed an appeal on 27.2.2012 with the first appellate authority (FAA). No reply of the FAA is available on the file. The appellant approached the Commission on 25.5.2012 in second appeal.
3. The respondent participated in the hearing through video conferencing and stated that the information sought by the appellant had to be denied because the information sought was exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(a), 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. The respondent said that the information had implications for the economic interests of the State apart from the fact that there was an element of confidentiality and fiduciary relationship.
4. The respondent explained that the information pertained to an inspection that the RBI had carried out in a cooperative bank, following which the bank was advised by the RBI to take eviction action against the tenants, as this rental income activity was nonbanking. It was stated that the issue of nonbanking activity could not be ignored and this is why the bank was asked to evict these tenants.
5. The respondent explained that the appellant was seeking copies of correspondence exchanged between RBI and the cooperative bank following the inspection that had been carried out in 2008 and 2010 and reports that had been submitted. It was in this background that the respondent sent a reply to the appellant on 17.2.2012 denying the information, which was subsequently upheld by the FAA on 24.4.2012.
6. The action taken by the respondent is in conformity with the provisions of the RTI Act.
7. The appellant did not participate in the hearing.
8. The decision of the FAA is upheld.
9. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Huleppa Kasheppa Batad v. Reserve Bank of India in Decision No. CIC/VS/A/2012/000874/03840