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RBI accountable to disclose info under RTI Act: SC

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that RBI should take rigid action against those banks and financial institutions which have been indulging in “disreputable business practices” and said it cannot withhold information on defaulters and other issues covered under the RTI Act.

“We have surmised that many financial institutions have resorted to such acts which are neither clean nor transparent. The RBI in association with them has been trying to cover up their acts from public scrutiny. It is the responsibility of the RBI to take rigid action against those banks which have been practicing disreputable business practices,” a Bench comprising Justices MY Eqbal and C Nagappan said.

The Apex Court clarified that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cannot withhold information under the “guise” of confidence or trust with financial institutions and is accountable to provide information sought by general public.

“RBI and the Banks have sidestepped the general public’s demand to give the requisite information on the pretext of ‘Fiduciary relationship’ and ‘Economic Interest’.

This attitude of the RBI will only attract more suspicion and disbelief in them. RBI as a regulatory authority should work to make the Banks accountable to their actions.

“Furthermore, the RTI Act under Section 2(f) clearly provides that the inspection reports, documents etc fall under the purview of ‘Information’ which is obtained by the public authority (RBI) from a private body,” the Bench said.
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