The central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that SBI Cards is a public authority and customers were entitled to seek information about the credit card company under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The CIC ruled that SBI Cards was a public authority, as SBI owns more than 51 per cent shares in the JV and that SBI Cards are the products of SBI as they carry the brand name and logo of SBI. It said that SBI cannot wash-off its responsibility and ensure that some agency is available to answer question by citizens seeking information about their own cards.
The ruling came after two SBI cardholders, Arun Kumar Verma and Dileep Ayachit, sought information under the RTI Act on particulars regarding credit cards. The petition was filed after the SBI Cards and Payment Services said that it had not received cheques issued by a cardholder. The bank later said it had received the cheques.
The SBI and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had turned down their request for information on the ground that SBI Cards was not a “public authority” within the ambit of the RTI Act.
"Neither SBI nor RBI has clarified or commented upon the legal relationship between a holding corporation/company with that of its subsidiary. As I understand legally, the affairs of a holding company/corporation includes the affairs of its subsidiary," the CIC observed.