Soon after hearing, the Appellant faxed a note stating that because of his hearing impairment, he was unable to understand the proceedings fully & would like to make some additional written submissions - CIC: denial of loan information upheld
Information regarding the loan account of M/s Concord Chemicals was denied as third party information - the Appellant is hard of hearing, he was asked to take the help of the NIC staff and was assisted during the hearing by an NIC official - Soon after hearing, the Appellant faxed a note stating that because of his hearing impairment, he was unable to understand the proceedings fully and would like to make some additional submissions in writing - the Appellant stated that he was not a party to the case before the DRT - CIC: denial upheld
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 15.5.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on eight points regarding the loan account of M/s Concord Chemicals. The CPIO responded on 5.6.2013 to points No. 1 to 4, 7 and 8 and denied the information on points No. 5 and 6 under Section 8 (1) (e) and (j) of the RTI Act, on the ground that it pertained to a third party. Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 17.6.2013. In his order dated 22.7.2013, the FAA upheld the CPIO’s reply. The Appellant approached the CIC in second appeal on 16.8.2013.
2. This matter was heard first on 23rd July 2014. Since the Appellant is hard of hearing, he was asked to take the help of the NIC staff and was assisted during the hearing by an NIC official. During the proceedings on 23.7.2014, the Respondents submitted that the Appellant is not connected in any way to the above mentioned loan account. The Appellant, on the other hand, submitted that the owner of M/s Concord Chemicals had obtained a large loan from the bank by fraudulently pledging thirty five properties, including a flat belonging to the Appellant. He further submitted that the loan has not been repaid and since this loan, granted from public funds, has not been repaid, every citizen of India has the right to get information about it.
3. The Respondents submitted that the above mentioned loan was given after due verification of the documents concerning it. It became NPA and the matter had gone to the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT). The aggrieved parties, who claimed that their properties were pledged fraudulently, had also taken up the matter before the DRT. However, the Tribunal rejected their claim. Thereafter, the aggrieved parties appealed to the High Court and the Court has asked them to take up the matter in the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal. The Respondents also submitted that they have since handed over the matter and all the documents concerning it to an asset reconstruction agent.
4. Soon after the hearing on 23rd July 2014, the Appellant faxed a note to us, in which he stated that because of his hearing impairment, he was unable to understand the proceedings fully and would like to make some additional submissions in writing. Because of these additional submissions and to give an opportunity to the Respondents to state their point of view on these submissions, we decided to hold another hearing on this matter, which took place on 12.9.2014. The Appellant was not present in spite of a written notice having been sent to him. In his note of 23.7.2014, the Appellant has stated that the bank had earlier given him a mortgage deed, affidavit and general power of attorney etc. in response to his separate RTI queries, but is now treating him as a third party. The Respondents submitted that the above documents were given to the Appellant because these related to Shri C. Jayachandra, first guarantor and mortgagor of the property, who had a flat in the housing society, of which the Appellant had described himself as Secretary. However, in his RTI application dated 15.5.2013, at points No. 5 and 6, the Appellant has sought information regarding the property or other assets offered by one Shri Kannan Y. Desai, who does not have a flat in the above mentioned society. Accordingly, information concerning these points was denied under Section 8 (1) (e) & (j) of the RTI Act. They further submitted that in response to points No. 1, 2, 3, 4,7, and 8 of the RTI application dated 15.5.2013, they informed the Appellant that the bank had fulfilled all the required formalities before giving the loan to M/s Concord Chemicals. In his note dated 23.7.2014, the Appellant has also stated that he was not a party to the case before the DRT. The Respondents submitted that in case the Appellant had an interest in any property pledged for the loan, he could have presented his case to the DRT. The Respondents also stated that as of now all the documents concerning the property have been handed over to the asset reconstruction agent and they are not in a position to provide any further information. We have considered the records and the submissions made before us by both the parties. We note that the information concerning the loan is held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity and cannot be disclosed unless larger public interest warrants its disclosure. The Appellant has not established any larger public interest, except for mentioning his claim that he and owners of thirty four other properties have been duped by the owner of M/s Concord Chemicals by fraudulently pledging their properties to obtain a loan. As mentioned by the Respondents, the above claim of the owners, who approached the DRT, was rejected by the Tribunal. The appeal to the High Court has also not resulted in confirmation of this claim and the Court has advised them to take up the matter in the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal. Moreover, as stated by the Respondents, they are no more in possession of the documents concerning the above loan as the same have been handed over to the asset reconstruction agent.
6. In view of the foregoing, intervention by the Commission is not considered necessary in this case.
7. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
8. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri K R Ramachandra Rao v. Allahabad Bank in File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001389/SH