Information regarding affiliation fees paid to IBA by the Syndicate Bank was denied u/s 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act - Respondents could not explain how disclosure would harm their competitive position – CIC: Provide the information free of charge
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application dated 8.8.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information regarding affiliation fees paid to IBA by the Respondent Bank, during the period 2005-2006 to 2012-2013, came up today. The information had been denied by the CPIO, vide his letter dated 7.9.2013 under Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act and his decision was endorsed by the FAA. The Appellant questioned the above decision. We asked the Respondents to substantiate the invocation of Section 8 (1) (d) by them by establishing the manner in which it would harm their competitive position. However, they were not able to offer any cogent explanation in this regard. They stated that they had also made a reference to the IBA under Section 11 of the RTI Act and were asked by them not to provide the information. The Appellant stated that the IBA is the representative of its member banks and the Respondent Bank figures amongst them. He further submitted that he has received similar information from certain other banks, members of the IBA.
2. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. The Respondents have not been able to justify invocation of Section 8 (1) (d) in this case, either in terms of harm to their own competitive position or to that of the IBA. Further, the information sought is regarding the payments made by the Respondent Bank to the IBA and not information provided to the Respondents by any third party. In view of the foregoing, the CPIO is directed to provide the information, sought in the RTI application dated 8.8.2013, free of charge, within thirty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
3. With the above direction, the appeal is disposed of.
4. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri B. G. Manakeshwar v. Syndicate Bank in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001421