Information regarding the accounts & transactions of two parties were sought by appellant alleging that they were involved in submitting 3 forged bank guarantees - CIC: denial upheld as no larger public interest established by appellant for disclosure
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 4.2.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on seven points regarding the accounts and transactions of two parties with the Respondent Bank. The CPIO responded on 1.4.2013 and denied the information under 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. Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 10.4.2013. In his order dated 26.4.2013, the FAA stated that the information sought by the Appellant, which pertained to the accounts of third parties, was held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity. He further stated that the information was exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act. The Appellant approached the CIC in second appeal on 2.8.2013.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. On being asked whether he had any connection to the accounts, about which information was sought, the Appellant stated that he is working with the Steel Authority of India. He further submitted that the two parties, information about whose accounts was sought, had obtained three guarantees from the bank to purchase steel from the Steel Authority of India (SAIL). Since their cheques in payment of purchase of steel bounced, SAIL had approached the bank to encash the guarantees. It was found at that stage that the guarantees were forged. The Appellant further submitted that as a citizen, he is concerned with the wrong doings in the bank and has sought the information in larger public interest to ensure that truth comes out. The Appellant also alleged that a Manager of the Bank had been arrested in connection with the above fraud. The Respondents reiterated the reply given by the CPIO and further clarified by the FAA.
3. We have considered the records and the submissions made before us by both the parties. We note that the Appellant has sought information regarding the accounts and transactions of two parties who, he alleges, were involved in perpetrating a fraud. He has not established any larger public interest for disclosure of the information to him. Accordingly, we see no ground to interfere with the decision of the Respondents in this case.
4. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
5. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri M S Tewatia v. Punjab and Sind Bank in File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001269/SH