Information regarding recovery suit b a bank was denied u/s 8(1)(e) & (j) - FAA added that u/s 13 of Banking Companies (Acquisition & Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 1970, secrecy & fidelity of customer’s account has to be maintained - CIC: denial upheld
1. The appellant, Shri. R K Swami, submitted RTI application dated 17 April 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Punjab National Bank, Meerut, seeking information regarding recovery suit in respect of Pooja Auto, through a total of 4 point.
2. Vide reply dated 18 May 2013, the CPIO denied the information sought as being personal information and exempt from disclosure u/s 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. Aggrieved by the decision of the CPIO, the appellant preferred appeal dated 15 June 2013 before the first appellate authority (FAA) stating that the CPIO wrongly denied the information. Vide order dated 25 June 2013, the FAA upheld the decision of CPIO and further stated that u/s 13 Of Banking Companies (Acquisition & Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 1970, bank is bound to maintain the secrecy & fidelity of the account of its customers.
3. Not satisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard today. During the hearing the respondent CPIO stated that the appellant had sought information regarding whether any recovery suit in respect of Pooja Auto, Meerut is pending. What properties are mortgaged in this regard and date of legal report and who has given the legal report. Who are the coowners in the above said mortgaged properties? Whether they have informed the bank or whether separate suit is pending, whether description of property is correct etc. The information relates to third party including details of mortgaged properties, owners thereof, litigation therein is private/ personal in nature and is available with the bank in fiduciary capacity. The disclosure of such information to third party may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the accounts of the customers of the bank and hence was exempt under the provisions of 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; and (j) of the RTI Act as well as Section 13 of Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking) Act, 1970, bank is bound to maintain secrecy and fidelity of the account of its customers. The appellant on the other hands stated that the matter is related to public money and hence involved larger public interest. He requested the Commission to direct the respondent for disclosure of information as sought for through his RTI application dated 17.4.2013.
5. The Commission accepts the submissions of the respondent that the information as sought for by the appellant is third party information and the appellant has not been able to substantiate any larger public interest. The decision of CPIO/FAA is upheld. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri. R K Swami v. Punjab National Bank in Appeal: No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001317/MP