Should the details of a government bank account be disclosed?
Information about the accounts statement of the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO), from 2.1.2009 to 12.7.2011 was denied by the PIO under Section 8(j) of the RTI Act. The appellant claimed the sought information is regarding Govt. Scheme and filed an appeal before the FAA who agreed with the reply of the PIO.
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The Commission accepted that information about the account and transactions of a customer with the bank are held by the Bank in a fiduciary capacity and is exempt 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. However, the Commission noted that the appellant is seeking information about the Bank Account of a Scheme under which money is provided for Child Welfare and other such welfare schemes. Observing that Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; of the RTI Act expects information of all concessions and subsidies to be made public suo-moto, the Commission ruled that disclosing the information sought by the appellant would serve the larger public interest. Therefore, the Commission ruled that as per Section 8(2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests. of the RTI Act there is a larger public interest in disclosure of the Accounts Statement since this is government money which is supposed to be channelized only for welfare schemes. It is important that citizens have complete details of such accounts so that it can act as a curb on arbitrariness and corruption.
Citation: Mr. Ritesh Kumar v. Bank of India in decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/003060/16861
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/55
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