Reveal bank inspection reports: CIC to RBI
In what could open banks for public scrutiny, the Central Information Commission has asked the country’s banking regulator Reserve Bank of India to disclose information regarding inspections of banks under the transparency law --- Right To Information. HT reports.delhi Updated: Nov 02, 2011 23:33 IST
In what could open banks for public scrutiny, the Central Information Commission has asked the country’s banking regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to disclose information regarding inspections of banks under the transparency law --- Right To Information.
Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi rejected the RBI’s claim that if the information regarding banks was disclosed it could lead to reduction of faith in banks and it could affect economic interest of the states.
“The idea that citizens are not mature enough to understand and will panic is repugnant to democracy,” Gandhi said, in his order and added that in over 60 years the citizens have handled their democratic rights in a mature fashion and have punished leaders who have shown tendencies of trampling their rights.
Gandhi also took his own commission to task, which had earlier given a blanket exemption to RBI to decide the information it could disclose on the ground that it was an expert body to understand implications of the information for the banking sector.
“If the position of the full bench (of the CIC) is to be accepted…then all public authorities could be best judge of what information could be disclosed. In such an event the information commission would have no role to play,” Gandhi said, while hearing an appeal of Jayantilal N Mistry of Gujarat against RBI.
The commission cannot abdicate its responsibilities under the RTI Act to RBI on the ground that latter was an expert body, Gandhi said. He also ruled that CIC’s full bench had no powers to review the decision of former information commissioner M M Ansari, who had asked RBI to provide complete information relating to performance of banking sector.
Holding RBI guilty of not reading the full bench decision completely, Gandhi said it had clearly stated that a larger public interest was likely to be served by disclosure of such information and RBI should be proactive in this. “It is unfortunate that the RBI has not taken any steps to proactively disclosure this information in the last five year,” he said, while asking RBI to disclose information to the applicant by end of November.
Gandhi was also amused at the RBI’s contention that disclosing information regarding inspection report of a particular bank could jeopardize economic interests of India. “Declaring the audit, inspection and investigation reports of all cooperative banks which have gone into liquidation cannot do any further harm to such banks,” he said.