Inspection of the file concerning a trust account was sought - Bank: A proper resolution of the Trust, along with a copy of the resignation of the Complainant was received; Information denied u/s 8 (1) (j) as complainant is no longer a member of the trust
Hearings on 30.10.2015, 11.12.2015 and 5.2.2016.
Hearing on 30.10.2015
This matter, pertaining to two RTI applications dated 30.7.2014 and 25.9.2014 filed by the Complainant, seeking information concerning the account of Kuldevi Shri Sachchamataji Trust, came up today. The Complainant filed a complaint dated 30.10.2014, praying, inter alia, for imposition of penalty on the CPIO on the ground that the information was not provided to him. The Complainant reiterated during the hearing that the information has still not been provided. Shri B. L. Nadkarni, CPIO was unable to give us a definite answer on whether the above RTI applications were responded to or not. He, however, stated that the Complainant could inspect the relevant files and obtain whatever information is desired by him. Shri Nadkarni further stated that there is a dispute between two groups of trustees of the above mentioned trust. On being asked whether in the light of the dispute, he stood by his statement that the Complainant could inspect the relevant files and obtain the information needed by him, Shri Nadkarni answered in the affirmative. Subsequently, it transpired during the hearing on another complaint of the same Complainant on File No. CIC/SH/C/2014/000453, which took place immediately after the hearing on this case, that the Complainant is no more an authorised signatory of the account of the above mentioned trust, about which information was sought. At this stage, Shri Nadkarni stated that he would have to consult his legal department with regard to his earlier offer to allow the Complainant to inspect the relevant files to obtain the information needed by him. Shri Nadkarni was clearly not prepared for the hearing. He did not know the full facts of the case and appeared to make his submissions in a rather casual manner. We are, therefore, constrained to postpone the hearing of this matter to give the bank some more time to send a representative, who is fully conversant with the facts of this case.
2. In view of the foregoing, the mater is adjourned to be heard again on 11 th December 2015 at 10.00 a.m. The representative(s) of the Respondents should be fully prepared to present the case of the bank during the next hearing, including concerning the action taken on the RTI applications dated 30.7.2014 and 25.9.2014. The venue for videoconferencing for the hearing on 11.12.2015 will be as follows:
For the Complainant
Office of the Collector, Mumbai Suburban district,
Administrative Building, 10th Floor,
Government Colony, Opp. Chetna College,
Bandra (E), Mumbai - 400051
The contact officer is: Ms. Mamta Gopal, Scientist DIO, 02226454740
For the Respondents
NIC District Centre, Ground Floor,
Ayojna Bhavan, Collectorate Campus, Kutch370001
The Contact officer is Mr. Mahendra Singh, Scientist C & Contact No. 023832253297
Hearing on 11.12.2015
3. This matter came up again today. The Complainant prayed for imposition of penalty on the CPIO on account of the information not having been provided to him. The representative of the Respondents stated that the above RTI applications were not responded to. He further submitted that there is a dispute between two groups of trustees of the Trust, information pertaining to which was sought. The bank is of the view that the matter needs to be resolved by the Charity Commissioner. Therefore, the information sought by the Complainant cannot be shown or provided to him. The representative of the Respondents further submitted that the Complainant has had separate correspondence with the bank, in the course of which the position of the bank in the matter has been conveyed to him. Some information of a general nature has been sought in the above RTI applications and that can be provided by the Respondents.
4. Having taken into account the submissions made before us, we direct the CPIO to file his written submissions to the Commission in this matter, with a copy to the Complainant, within fifteen days of the receipt of this interim order. The written submissions should cover, inter alia, the nature of the dispute concerning the Trust, names and designations of the officers, who held the charge of CPIO since the filing of the above mentioned RTI applications and details (together with copies of the correspondence) of the correspondence in the course of which the Respondents claim to have conveyed their position in the matter to the Complainant. The matter is adjourned to be heard again through video conferencing on 5 th February, 2016 at 10.50 a.m . Based on the written submissions of the CPIO, the Complainant may file his written submissions, if any, to the Commission, with a copy to the CPIO, so as to reach the Commission’s office and the CPIO before the date of the next hearing (5.2.2016). The venue for videoconferencing for the Complainant and the Respondents shall be the same as mentioned in paragraph 2 above.
Hearing on 5.2.2016
5. The matter came up again today. In keeping with the directive contained in paragraph 4 above, the CPIO has filed his written submissions dated 8.1.2016, a copy of which was forwarded by him to the Complainant. The Complainant has filed his written submissions dated 28.1.2016. The Complainant reiterated his prayer for imposition of penalty on the CPIO for not providing the information sought in his RTI applications dated 30.7.2014 and 25.9.2014. It is noted that the information sought in these applications was regarding the account of Kuldevi Shri Sachchamataji Trust. In the application dated 30.7.2014, the Complainant had sought inspection of the file concerning the above account. From the earlier correspondence submitted by the bank, it is seen that they wrote to the Complainant on 3.1.2013 on his grievance concerning alleged unauthorised change of authorised signatory list in respect of the above account. The bank informed him that the changes were carried out by the branch concerned after duly following the norms of the bank and after taking a proper resolution, KYC compliance, photocopies of resignations of the old trustees etc. Further, in response to another application filed by the Complainant, the CPIO wrote to him on 1.7.2014, denying the information concerning the above account under Section 8 (1) (j). However, in spite of the above, the Complainant has continued to file RTI applications, seeking information concerning the said account. From the information provided by the CPIO in his written submissions dated 8.1.2016, it is seen that the name of the Complainant was excluded by the trust as a resigning trustee. The Complainant alleges that the above was done in an irregular manner. The Respondents stated that they received a proper resolution of the Trust, along with a copy of the resignation of the Complainant. In response to our query, they further submitted that a copy of the resignation letter of the Complainant, available on the records of the bank, has already been provided to the Complainant along with the general information concerning rules and regulations sought by him. The Respondents reiterated that there is a dispute between two groups of trustees and the matter needs to be resolved by the Charity Commissioner.
6. We have considered the submissions of both the parties and note that the information with which the Complainant is directly connected i.e. a copy of his resignation letter available on the records of the bank, has already been provided to him. The bank has repeatedly informed him that the information concerning the account cannot be provided because he is no longer a member of the trust. However, he has continued to file RTI applications on the same issue. Therefore, even though the two applications under consideration in this order were not responded to, in view of the fact that the bank had already responded earlier to the queries of the Complainant for information concerning the account, we do not regard it as a fit case for consideration of imposition of penalty on the CPIO. In view of the foregoing, further enquiry into this complaint is also not considered necessary.
7. With the above observations, the complaint is disposed of.
8. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Chandrakant N. Shah v. Dena Bank in File No. CIC/SH/C/2014/000540