Court stays information panel’s order to RBI on RTI plea

The Delhi High Court Friday stayed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Reserve Bank of India to provide information regarding credit provided to industrialists by nationalized banks to a Right to Information (RTI) applicant.

Justice Vipin Sanghi also issued notice to the RTI applicant, P.P. Kapoor, seeking his reply before the next date of hearing on Feb 27, 2012.

Contending that the CIC’s order will have a far reaching impact, senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for RBI, said: ‘This kind of information is confidential.’

He argued that the Information Commissioner has dealt with the matter in a wrong way, without considering all the relevant provisions under the RBI Act.

Questioning the jurisdiction of the CIC under the transparency law to pass such a direction, Andhyarujina said that the bank was exempted from providing any such information under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.

‘It is not open to the CIC to issue the direction under section 8 (2) of the RTI act, when the RBI is exempted under section 8 (1) (a). Providing information to CIBIL (India’s first credit information bureau) is entirely different from providing the same to ordinary citizen as former is a government recognized body entitled to collect credit information,’ he argued.

In his application, Kapoor had sought information regarding amount of loan taken by industrialists from Indian nationalised banks and not repaid, along with interest accruing on such unpaid loans.

He had also sought details of the top 100 defaulters.

The CIC had Nov 14 directed the RBI to provide the information sought by the applicant by Dec 10.

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