The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Reserve Bank of India on two contempt petitions alleging that the central bank failed to provide information sought from it under the Right To Information Act, LiveLaw reported.
A bench headed by Justice Nageswara Rao issued the notice on a petition filed by two RTI activists who contended that the bank had refused to part with the information despite the top court’s verdict on the matter.
The bank is expected to file its response within a month and the case will be listed for March.
The matter pertains to information sought about inspection reports of a few banks and on the alleged irregularities by the Sahara Group of companies reported. Girish Mittal, one of the petitioners, said that in December 2015 he had sought the inspection reports of ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and the State Bank of India from April 2011. Mittal had also asked for copies of cases with file notings on several irregularities detected by the central bank in the case of the Sahara Group and the erstwhile Bank of Rajasthan.
The second petitioner, Subhash Chandra Agrawal, alleged the RBI had violated the Supreme Court’s judgement from December 2015 that had ruled the bank was bound to comply with provisions of the RTI Act. The court had ruled that the RBI cannot refuse to disclose information on the grounds of economic interests of the country, and fiduciary relationships with individual banks.
Mittal’s petition alleged that the RBI was not in a fiduciary relationship with any of the above banks and, therefore, had not followed the Supreme Court’s earlier order by refusing to disclose their inspection reports. The RBI had denied the information on the grounds that the disclosure is “not in the economic interests of the state and would adversely affect the competitive position of the third party”, it said.