PIO asked the appellant to pay certain fee including the service charges of bank for disclosing various classes of documents & records as per bank’s regulations - CIC: Appellant is not a customer seeking information regarding his accounts etc. with bank
These files contain appeals regarding the RTI applications dated 10.1.2014 (two applications), 28.7.2014 and 23.9.2014, filed by the Appellant, seeking information on various issues. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, he has approached the CIC in second appeal in all the cases.
2. The RTI applications dated 10.1.2014 (Files No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001109 and CIC/SH/A/2014/001107) sought information regarding housing loans given to bank’s employees, including dismissed employees, in the Bangalore and Belgaum regions. The information was denied in both the cases under Section 8 (1) (d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act on the ground that it was the personal information of employees of the bank and was held in a fiduciary relationship. However, from a reading of the queries in the RTI applications, it is clear that the Appellant had sought only statistical information regarding the number of accounts and the number of cases in which action was taken to recover outstanding amounts. The Appellant confirmed this during the hearing and stated that he does not want information regarding the names and other details of the borrowers. In view of the foregoing, the denial of information under Section 8 (1) (d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act was not justified. Accordingly, we direct the CPIO to provide to the Appellant the available information in response to all the queries of the two RTI applications, free of cost, within thirty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
3. With regard to the RTI application dated 28.7.2014 (File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/003094), the Appellant stated that he is a dismissed employee of the bank and the charge against him was misuse of the IT identity of other officials. The information sought in the above RTI application was in the context of the disciplinary proceedings, which resulted in his dismissal. He submitted that he has also filed a writ petition in the High Court against his dismissal. He also stated that the CPIO asked him, vide his reply dated 30.8.2014, to deposit Rs. 61,500/ to get the information. This amount included the service charges of the bank for disclosing various classes of documents and records. In this context, he drew our attention to the response dated 21.10.2014 of the CPIO to another RTI Application dated 23.9.2014 filed by him, in which the CPIO admitted that the reply to his RTI application dated 28.7.2014, though dated 30.8.2014, was dispatched to him only on 12.9.2014. He stated that since the response to his RTI application dated 28.7.2014 was not provided within the stipulated period of thirty days, he is entitled to get the information free of cost. The Respondents submitted that even if the charges due to them under the RTI Act were to be waived, the Appellant must pay the service charges as per the bank’s regulations. In response to our query, they stated that they are willing to provide the information because it is not exempted from disclosure under any exemption clause of the RTI Act. However, the Appellant must pay the service charges. In the above context, we note that the Appellant is not a customer seeking information regarding his accounts etc. with the bank, which would be covered by the regulations, if any, put in place by the bank for provision of such information. He is a former employee of the bank, who has sought information in the context of the disciplinary proceedings conducted against him, through an RTI application. The Respondents acknowledged that the information sought is not exempted from disclosure under any exemption clause of the RTI Act. In view of the foregoing, since the information was not provided within the mandated period of thirty days, it has to be provided free of charge in terms of Section 7 (6) of the RTI Act. Accordingly, the CPIO is directed to provide the information free of charge to the Appellant, within fifteen days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
4. With the above directions and observations, the three appeals are disposed of.
5. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Gukuldas Annath Kamath v. Union Bank of India in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001109 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001107 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/003094