The chief information commissioner ordered the disclosure of information on the government’s scrapping of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and its subsequent replacement with new currency notes in the denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000, PTI reported on Monday.
Chief Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava said the Bhartiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India, had failed to explain how the disclosure of demonetisation-related documents would harm India’s economic interest.
The top bank’s subsidiary had told Bhargava that such a disclosure would result in “proliferation of counterfeit currency and economic chaos”. Bhargava’s order was based on a plea by Harinder Dhingra, who had told the CIC that the currency printer had failed to give him a satisfactory response to his Right to Information query on the number of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes released post demonetisation.
The Bhartiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran had told Dhingra that the nature of currency printing demanded “utmost exclusivity and confidentiality”. In his plea to Bhargava, Dhingra said that the RTI response that not established how the information requested fro could harm the interests of the country.
On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the scrapping of the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, which accounted for 86% of the currency in circulation, in a stated bid to crackdown on black money. The announcement was followed by long queues outside ATMs across the country and a short supply of the new notes.
In September, the Central Information Commission had asked the Prime Minister’s Office to reply to a Right to Information application that sought to know the status of Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha election promise of bringing back black money deposited in foreign bank accounts to the country, The Hindu reported. The RTI query, filed by Rajasthan resident Kanhaiya Lal, had also sought information on whether the Modi-led government will introduce a law to remove corruption from the country.