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'Information on ATM operation not to be revealed'

Commercial banks cannot be compelled under the RTI Act to divulge the operational details of their ATMs installed across cities, rules CIC.

business Updated: Feb 17, 2008 17:32 IST

Commercial banks cannot be compelled under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to divulge the operational details of their ATMs installed across cities, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled.

"Information pertaining to operation of ATMs is really a matter of commercial confidence. As a matter of fact, a lot of security is involved in such a procedure and such information cannot be given to any outsider," CIC's Information Commissioner Padma Balasubramanian held in a ruling on Jan 29.

The CIC ruling came on an application under the RTI Act, seeking certain information about the operation of the ATMs of State Bank of India.

The applicant, G Ramachandra Rao, a resident of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, had approached the SBI with eight queries ranging from defective disbursement of cash by the bank's ATMs to the guidelines of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks' Association (IBA) on maintenance of ATMs.

Turning down Rao's request for the guidelines, General Manager of SBI's Kurnool branch said that there were no specific guidelines of RBI or IBA on maintenance of ATMs or withdrawing excess cash from them.

On the question of defective disbursement by ATMs, the bank said that such details were specific to its customers and would fall under the category of "third-party information", which was categorically exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act, 2005.

"I agree with the stand taken by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of SBI," Balasubramanian said while disposing of the applicant's plea.