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  1. Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 By Shailesh Gandhi, Former Central Information Commissioner Judgment : Reserve Bank of India Vs. Jaynatilal N. Mistry & Ors. (2016) 3 SCC 525 This is a landmark judgement given by Apex Court on 16 December, 2015 and it must be included since it is the first clear pro-transparency judgement after the advent of the RTI Act. A bench of Justice M.Y. Eqbal and C. Nagappan delivered the most significant judgment on the law and laid down standards of transparency in line with the letter and spirit of the RTI Act. The apex court was hearing a batch of transferred petitions filed by various financial institutions and Banks against eleven decisions2 of the Central Information Commission. Since the issues were similar the eleven cases were transferred from the Bombay and Delhi High Courts to the Supreme Court. Eight had been filed by RBI, two by NABARD and one was filed by ICICI Bank. As per the RTI Act denial of information is permitted only if it falls in the ambit of Section 8 of the Act, or providing the information infringes copyright. A few organizations which are security and intelligence agencies specifically mentioned in the second schedule to the Act are completely exempted, unless the information sought relates to corruption or human rights violations. The Act is complete by itself and to obviate the possibility of any laws circumscribing this fundamental right of citizens, Section 22 states: “The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.” Insertion of a non- obstante clause in Section 22 of the RTI Act was a conscious choice of the Parliament to safeguard the citizens’ fundamental right to information from convoluted interpretations of other laws adopted by public authorities to deny information. The presence of Section 22 of the RTI Act simplifies the process of implementing the right to information both for citizens as well as the PIO; citizens may seek to enforce their fundamental right to information by simply invoking the provisions of the RTI Act. To understand this, two scenarios may be envisaged: 1. The existence of an earlier law/ rule whose provisions pertain to furnishing of information and is consistent with the RTI Act: Since there is no inconsistency between the law/ rule and the provisions of the RTI Act, the citizen is at liberty to choose whether she will seek information in accordance with the said law/ rule or under the RTI Act. If the PIO has received a request for information under the RTI Act, the information shall be provided to the citizen as per the provisions of the RTI Act and any denial of the same must be in accordance with Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act only; and 2. An earlier law/ rule whose provisions pertain to furnishing of information but is inconsistent with the RTI Act: Where there is inconsistency between the law/rule and the RTI Act in terms of access to information, then Section 22 of the RTI Act lays down that it shall override the said law/ rule and the PIO would be required to furnish the information as per the RTI Act only. The Supreme Court has reinforced the correct position of the law. Section 8 of the RTI Act, which details information which can be denied states: 8. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,- (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; (b) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court; (c) information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; information including commercial confidence, trade (d) secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; (e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; (f) information received in confidence from foreign government; information, (g) of which would the disclosure endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; (h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; (i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers: Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over: Provided further that those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed; (i) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. (2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with subsection (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interests in disclosure outweigh the harm to the protected interests. (3) Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of subsection (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section: Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act. The main points of information which were being denied in the matters before the court were: 1. Investigations and audit reports of banks by RBI 2. Warning or Advisory issued to Bank. 3. Minutes of meetings of governing board and directors 4. Details of Top defaulters. 5. Grading of banks In the instant case one of the grounds for denial was that information could not be disclosed as per the Banking Regulations Act. The other grounds on which refusal of information was justified was on the basis of Section 8(1) and the fact that the impugned judgments issued by a single member bench of the commission had disagreed with an earlier full bench decision taken by a four member bench. The single member bench had held the earlier decision per incuriam. It was argued by RBI that the single member bench was bound to follow the earlier decision of the full bench. RBI had claimed exemption under Section 8(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the RTI Act and also argued that there was no larger public interest in disclosure and hence did not fulfil the requirement of Section 8(2). It had claimed that the economic interests of the state would be adversely affected by disclosure. It was also stated that the commercial interests of the banks would be affected. The most insistent claim for exemption was that the information was held by RBI and NABARD in a fiduciary relationship. The Apex court did not accept any of these grounds. It held in para 43: “The submission of the RBI that exceptions be carved out of the RTI Act regime in order to accommodate provisions of RBI Act and Banking Regulation Act is clearly misconceived. RTI Act, 2005 contains a clear provision (Section 22) by virtue of which it overrides all other Acts including Official Secrets Act. Thus, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law like RBI Act or Banking Regulation Act, the RTI Act, 2005 shall prevail insofar as transparency and access to information is concerned.” There have been many instances of PIOs,- including those of High Courts,- insisting that they will give information only on the basis of their regulations or earlier laws. This has now been settled the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has recorded the contention of RBI that the single member bench could not have given a ruling contrary to that of a four member full bench of the commission. It has however upheld the decision of the single member bench since the commissioner had given logical reasons to show how the full bench decision was per incuriam. This opens the way for information commissioners to interpret the law as per its letter and intent, instead of being tied down by earlier decisions given in ignorance of the law, provided a proper reasoning is given. On RBIs contention that disclosure would harm the nation’s economic interest the court upheld the commission’s ruling and echoed in para 61: “The baseless and unsubstantiated argument of the RBI that the disclosure would hurt the economic interest of the country is totally misconceived. In the impugned order, the CIC has given several reasons to state why the disclosure of the information sought by the respondents would hugely serve public interest, and non-disclosure would be significantly detrimental to public interest and not in the economic interest of India. RBI’s argument that if people, who are sovereign, are made aware of the irregularities being committed by the banks then the country’s economic security would be endangered, is not only absurd but is equally misconceived and baseless.” A claim is often made that information given to regulators and statutory authorities in discharge of statutory obligations is held in a fiduciary relationship and hence is exempt as per Section 8 (1)(e) of the Act. The information commission had rejected this claim on the ground that information provided in discharge of statutory requirements cannot be considered as being held in a fiduciary relationship. The Supreme Court has reinforced this by stating in paragraph 62: “where information is required by mandate of law to be provided to an authority, it cannot be said that such information is being provided in a fiduciary relationship. As in the instant case, the financial institutions have an obligation to provide all the information to the RBI and such information shared under an obligation/ duty cannot be considered to come under the purview of being shared in fiduciary relationship.” The Court has taken note of the obstructionist and secrecy wedded PIOs response to RTI applications. It has expressed its strong disapproval of denying the citizen’s fundamental right in paragraph 64: “it had long since come to our attention that the Public Information Officers (PIO) under the guise of one of the exceptions given under Section 8 of RTI Act, have evaded the general public from getting their hands on the rightful information that they are entitled to”. This should serve as a warning and wake up call to all PIOs, First appellate authorities and information commissioners. If information commissioners penalize PIOs who are using every innovative pretext to deny information, it would reduce the unhealthy practices being adopted to deny information. This is a landmark judgment and all those responsible for implementing the RTI Act must imbibe the letter and spirit of this. A very heartening impact of this judgment was seen within a fortnight when Mr. Raghuram Rajan the then RBI Governor in his New Year message to bank officers for the year 2016 said: “It has often been said that India is a weak state. Not only are we accused of not having the administrative capacity of ferreting out wrong doing, we do not punish the wrong-doer – unless he is small and weak. This belief feeds on itself. No one wants to go after the rich and well-connected wrongdoer, which means they get away with even more. If we are to have strong sustainable growth, this culture of impunity should stop. Importantly, this does not mean being against riches or business, as some would like to portray, but being against wrong-doing. …... there is a sense that we do not enforce compliance. Are we allowing regulated entities to get away year after year with poor practices even though these are noted during inspections/scrutinies? Should we become more intolerant of sloppy practices at regulated entities, so that these do not result in massive scams years later? Should we haul up accountants who do not flag issues they should detect? My sense is that we need a continuing conversation about tightening both detection as well as penalties for non-compliance throughout the hierarchy….. Finally, we are embedded in a changing community. What was OK in the past is no longer all right when the public demands transparency and better governance from public organisations. …. Transparency and good governance are ways to protect ourselves from roving enquiries – everyone should recognise that an effective regulator has enemies, and like Caesar’s wife, should be above all suspicion.” However within three months RBI started playing a different tune and again refusing information which latter RTI applications sought on the same matter. The Supreme Court has given a clear unambiguous judgment on the RTI Act specifically with respect to Section 8 (1) (a), (e) and section 22 of the Act. It has castigated those who deny information by using Section 8 (1) without justification. The then Governor of RBI has also responded positively and the writer has confirmation that information has been provided as per the CIC orders. We should build on this to bring transparent and accountable governance for our nation. RBI is no longer willing to abide by the judgment and a contempt petition has been filed against it. It is unfortunate that RBI is taking an arrogant position on transparency and has now come up with a Non-Disclosure policy which they are labeling as a ‘Disclosure Policy’. About the Authors: Shailesh Gandhi is a first generation entrepreneur and a Distinguished Alumnus awardee of IIT Bombay. He sold his company to become an RTI activist. Shailesh was part of the National RTI movement which was involved in drafting the National RTI Act. He was convener of the National Campaign for People’s Right To Information. He used RTI and also trained many citizens and government officials in over 1000 workshops to use it. He is perhaps the only RTI activist to have been chosen as a Central Information Commissioner. He disposed a record of over 20,000 cases in his tenure of 3 years and 9 months, and ensured that most cases were decided in less than 90 days. He gave many landmark decisions on RTI, apart from organizing the first digital paperless office in the Commission. He is now at his home in Mumbai to further and deepen RTI to empower citizens to take effective participatory charge of their democracy. He is also passionately pursuing the cause of evolving ways for a time bound justice delivery system, and improving governance systems. Amongst many awards, he has been awarded the Nani Palkhiwala Civil Liberties award, and the MR Pai award. Sandeep Jalan is an Advocate, practicing in Bombay High Court and also in Subordinate Courts and Tribunals. He writes extensively on various legal issues. He has developed a website / Legal Referencer vakeelkanumber.com wherein the pressing issues of our society have been identified, with all probable legal remedies which may be pursued, are suggested therein, and followed by articulate legal drafts and procedure. He also write Blogs. http://commonlaw-sandeep.blogspot.in/ http://thepracticeoflawjalan.blogspot.in/ http://judgmentshighcourtsapexcourt.blogspot.in/ http://legaldraftsjalan.blogspot.in/ http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SM_A_2011_001487_SG_15434_M_69675.pdf satyamevajayate.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Analysis-of-Supreme-Court-judgments-on-RTI.pdf
  2. Higher CIC bench to decide disclosure of loan defaulters names An issue of disclosing names and details of big bank loan defaulters will be decided by a larger bench of the Central Information Commission due to complexity of issues involved in making such names public. NPAs or bad loans of PSU banks rose by 28.5 per cent from Rs 1.83 lakh crore in March 2013, to Rs 2.36 lakh crore in September 2013. The case relates to a plea of activist Subhash Agrawal who sought disclosure of names of loan defaulters with outstanding of over Rs one crore with public sector banks. After being denied information by Reserve Bank of India, Agrawal pleaded before Information Commissioner Manjula Parashar that the information should be provided because it is in larger public interest that defaulters of bank loans may be highlighted (and made to face embarrassment) by putting their names in public domain. "Otherwise also RBI gets all such information from banks in its role as supervisory and controlling authority with no question of treating sought information as fiduciary in nature," Agrawal claimed before the Commission. The RBI cited a high court stay order, without producing a copy, saying information cannot be disclosed. They also cited privacy clause of RTI Act which exempts disclosure of personal information. Parashar said it appears that similar issues are under adjudication by the Delhi High Court and an interim stay against the decision of the Commission has been granted by the high court. "There has been contradictory views expressed in the decisions of the Commission regarding application of exemption under section 8(1)(e) to the details regarding NPA accounts," Parashar said while ordering the case to be dealt by higher bench of the Commission. Read More: Higher CIC bench to decide disclosure of loan defaulters names | Business Standard News
  3. READING THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE AMPLY HOLDS THAT THE CIBIL IS A PUBLIC AUTHORITY PROMOTED BY THE GOVERMENT OF INDIA AND THE RESERVE BANK OF INDIA AS A COMPANY UNDER HE COMPANIES ACT 1956 INCORPORATED IN YEAR 2000 The role of Credit Information Bureau India Limited (CIBIL) in Credit Rating: Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL), incorporated in the year 2000, plays a very vital role in credit ratings in India. CIBIL – India’s first credit information bureau- is a repository of information, which contains the credit history of commercial and consumer borrowers. CIBIL provides this information to its Members in the form of credit information reports. The establishment of CIBIL is an effort made by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to improve the functionality and stability of the Indian financial system by containing NPAs while improving credit grantors’ portfolio quality. CIBIL provides a vital service, which allows its Members to make informed, objective and faster credit decisions. CIBIL’s aim is to fulfill the need of credit granting institutions for comprehensive credit information by collecting, collating and disseminating credit information pertaining to both commercial and consumer borrowers, to a closed user group of Members. Banks, Financial Institutions, Non Banking Financial Companies, Housing Finance Companies and Credit Card Companies use CIBIL’s services. Read more: All about Credit Rating in brief | Tax Guru
  4. Hello, My name is Anup S nair I have a question which is related to y education loan, i have a education loan from SBI, i herd government has introduced a new rule according to which interest on educational loans has been waved and only the principle amount has to be paid, is that true? And can i pay my loan from any bank branches even if it out of Delhi? i asked several bank managers but every second person is giving me a different answer hence i joined this forum, please help me and guide me.
  5. Hi RTI community members, This is my first post on this site. Almost everyone will agree that State Bank of India has one of the most rude and unprofessional staff. I had my own bad experience-: I visited the branch to apply for visa debit card. The clerk who process debit card request said he knew nothing about this card and asked me to go see the branch manager. The branch manager very rudely asked me to leave the cabin and bring the person on whose advice I came here. When called; the employee simply refused and said he never sent me to his cabin, on hearing this the branch manager started shouting like hell in front of two more people and asked me to leave. He didn't even listened to my arguments and assumed that I was lying. I suffered mental agony due this. I feel aggrieved and want to make that branch manager pay for his unprofessional behavior. I want to file complaint in consumer court and banking ombudsman. But before that I need to collect some evidence. I guess that RBI has made it mandatory to keep the video records for a certain period of time. I want to get copy of that day's video through RTI. So that same can be produced before the jury as an evidence.
  6. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_give-audit-report-central-information-commissioner-to-rbi_1606702 DNA 03-11-2011 Give audit report: central information commissioner to RBI Published: Thursday, Nov 3, 2011, 8:00 IST By Ashutosh Shukla | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Why did your cooperative bank shut down, what action has been taken against those responsible for the collapse, how funds were going to be recovered, you can now get answers to all these queries through the Right to Information Act, 2005. In an order dated November 2, 2011, Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to part with information related to an investigation done on a cooperative bank, provide its audit report and also give details on all banks that have gone under liquidation, including what action has been taken against the directors for recovery of funds. The order came after a Gujarat resident, Jayantilal Mistry, filed an application seeking the investigation and audit reports of Makarpura Industrial Estate Cooperative Bank Ltd. However, the RBI refused to oblige mainly on two grounds — first, that the information was in fiduciary capacity and, second, that disclosure of such information may harm the interest of the bank and the banking system. The RBI cited two sections that exempt it from providing such information. The central bank said that the disclosure would affect the economic interests of the state as the information sought could shake public faith in the system. It also stated that inspections often bring out the weaknesses in financial institutions, systems and managements of the inspected entities. To back the denial of information, the public information officer provided an order of the full bench by the CIC. The commission, however, stated that the RBI needed to know what kind of fiduciary relationship. Since it was a statutory duty, information should be provided, the commission said. The commission quoted the judgment in the state of UP v/s Raj Narain case: “In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. Their right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can at any rate have no repercussion on public security.” Therefore, the commission asked the RBI to provide all the information stating, "The best check on arbitrariness, mistakes and corruption is transparency, which allows thousands of citizens to act as monitors of public interest.”
  7. Ikramulla Md

    rti rbi

    What's the address of RTI Public Information Officer of RBI?
  8. Navneet Pandey IIT Kanpur

    Whom to Ask the Question?Please help me.

    I am a student in IIT Kanpur. I want to start up a bussiness for digital currency Exchange(as part time). Example of Digital Currencies - egold,Libertyreserve,Paypal,MoneyBookers. Actually problem is that on 21 Nov 2002, a newpaper "BussinessLine" has published this piece of information. Sorry cannot post the URL.Please check by typing "egold illegal india" in google. The summary of this report is "Use of `e-gold' in any transaction is violative of current regulations in force in India. Members of the public, banks, money-changers and other financial institutions are, therefore, cautioned against the use of `e-gold' as a currency in their transactions." This is said by RBI. I have searched on RBI official website and Indian Penal Code website.Niether of them make even a single note of it.Even the RBI press notification section doesn't have any mention of it. Now I want to file a RTI to find out whether it is legal to buy/sell/exchange these digital currencies within India or not. WHOM SHOULD I ADDRESS MY QUESTION? RBI? If RBI, then who is the PIO? I am completely unknown with RTI and found it too informative on RTI official website. Please tell me- 1)Whom should I address the question? 2)What to write in RTI application? 3)Who is PIO? 4)What is the mode of payment acceptable to them? Can any body help me out?It will be a heavenly gift to me!!!!!!!
  9. I would like to know the status of fund seized by Reserve Bank Of India due to complaint filed by customers.In fact said company did not returned the maturity amount to its investors ,more over they have closed their offices of Mumbai & Western India .now we all investors are in dark,we don't know what action is taken against said company.I would like to know when & how are we going to get our invested money ? What measures have been taken by R.B.I. to address the grievances of investors like me .
  10. The SBI Vaishali Nagar Branch manager Mr. Arvind said on 24 Nov 2011 that RBI has issued a new directive to SBI stating that anyone wishing to open a PPF account must open a SB Account first in the SBI. The SBI and RBI websites do not mention any such thing. I have written to SBI Help Line to provide a copy of that new directive from RBI. === From: helpline.lhodel [helpline.lhodel@sbi.co.in] To: agmr1.zojai@sbi.co.in sbi.04129@sbi.co.in; cmbopm3.lhodel@sbi.co.in; KIND ATTENTION: AGM,REGION-1JAIPUR/ BRANCH MANAGER VAISHALI NAGAR JPR BRANCH Please look into the matter and arrange for redress of the customer's grievance under confirmation to us. Regards, SBI Helpline, LHO New Delhi ________________________________________ From: Jitendra Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 4:07 PM To: helpline.lhodel@sbi.co.in Subject: PPF Account opening Jaipur Importance: High Dear Sir, Is it mandatory to open a Savings Bank account with SBI in order to have a PPF account ?? The Jaipur branch Vaishali Nagar has told me that there is a new directive from RBI that I must have a SB account with SBI in order to open a PPF Account. RBI and SBI websites do not mention any such thing. I request a copy of that directive please. Regards. Jitendra Singh Nigeria
  11. As reported by Anita Singh at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Nov 3, 2011 Panipat: Following denial of information sought by a local RTI activist regarding top 100 bank loan defaulters from the Reserve Bank of India, the Central Information Commission has summoned the public information officer of the apex bank. Activist P P Kapoor had demanded information from RBI about top 100 persons and industrialists of the country who had not repaid huge loans taken from nationalised banks, in August last year. In their reply, RBI stated that though the information was available, it could not be divulged as RBI was holding it in judicial capacity''. Following this, Kapoor filed an appeal with the first appellate authority which was rejected. Kapoor then approached the Central Information Commission which has asked the public information officer of RBI to appear before it on November 8 with all relevant documents.
  12. RBI issues certain "advisory notes' to Banks, from time to time. In a recent order, CIC has ruled that these advisory notes have to be disclosed by RBI. The matter concerns advisory notes issued to ICICI Bank. Initially, CIC had ordered disclosure but ICICI Bank had approached Bombay High court and obtained a stay order since it was not heard by the CIC, as per Sec 1994) of the RTI Act. The court remanded the matter back to the CIC. The full order is attached to this post. Advisory Notes RBI ICICI.pdf
  13. TIMES OF INDIA, AHMEDABAD 21-04-2011 http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIA/2011/04/21&PageLabel=7&EntityId=Ar00701&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T RTI reveals RBI apathy over National Litigation Policy Banking Operations Department Says It Does Not Have Info On How To Implement The Policy That Seeks To Reduce Litigation Vijaysinh Parmar | TNN Rajkot: The National Litigation Policy (NLP) aimed at reducing the cases pending in various courts in India is nine months old, but the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which is supposed to implement the procitizen policy in the banking sector is unaware of it. The Department of Banking Operations and Development in the RBI’s central office in Mumbai has told a Right to Information (RTI) activist that it does not have any information on how the RBI is implementing the NLP. The RTI activist J P Shah from Junagadh filed an RTI application in December 2010seeking information on the date of receipt of NLP by the RBI, steps initiated by it for compliance of the policy, feedback given to the government and copies of feedback from the SBI, Syndicate Bank, Dena Bank, Corporation Bank and the Punjab National Bank. Central Public Information Officer B Mahapatra of the RBI wrote back to Shah on January 31 saying that the information sought by him was not available with the Department of Banking Operations and Development. The NLP is aimed at decongesting courts and reducing litigation cost and time. Under the policy, effective from July 1, 2010, banks have to form committees to review all cases before filing a lawsuit so that petty cases do not clog the courts and waste the time and money of the bank and the customer. Not satisfied with the reply, Shah went in appeal. V S Das, executive director of RBI and appellate authority, ruled on March 28 that “the Central Public Information Officer is duty bound to provide only that information which the public authority holds”. Das has directed Mahapatra to forward Shah’s query to the RBI’s legal department as well as the secretary’s department “to explore the availability of the information sought with those departments and furnish an appropriate response to the appellant”. “How can you expect proper implementation of an important policy under such circumstances?” asks Shah. The RBI is the regulatory body of banks in the country and, thus, is the implementing agency of central government policies such as the NLP. “It is shocking that an important wing of the RBI has no copy of a pro-people policy, especially because banks are one of the big litigants against the public. Some banks compel customers to move courts even for petty issues such as an unwritten policy or they file cases in courts at the drop of the hat and waste public money to harass the public,” says Shah, a retired bank manager. The NLP is based on the recognition that government and its various agencies are the predominant litigants in courts and tribunals in the country. It aims to transform government into an efficient and responsible litigant. It is the responsibility of the government to protect the rights of citizens, to respect fundamental rights and those in charge of the conduct of government litigation should never forget this basic principle, said Shah. Shah has now written to the Union law minister, finance minister and RBI governor to ensure effective implementation of the NLP by the banking sector.
  14. This is a little success story I want to share with the forum members. For the last one year I have been trying to unravel the mystery behind the huge amount of money lying with the Indian Banking System in the shape of Dormant/Inoperative accounts. These money legitimately belong to the owners/heirs of the account holders and not to the Banks. Large nos. of accounts are lying around and Banks are coolly enjoying the funds without paying any interest on it and doing nothing on it. I discovered that thousands of crores of money in more than half a lakh accounts are lying in the Banks depriving the legitimate owners of this funds. This is AS per figures supplied to me by RBI. Perhaps this was first time some one asked for these information and it took RBI 2 months to collect & supply these information. (Free of cost) One June 23 I filed another RTI application to know what the Govt. is doing on this. I posed three queries to the Ministry of Finance. Kindly let me know the various steps & instructions made by the Finance Ministry with regard to money lying with all Banks operating in India as Dormant / Silent / Inoperative accounts? What steps are being taken by the Govt. / Ministry to return the money to their legitimate owners / heirs / claimants etc. Copy of circulars / memos / instructions / office orders etc. with respect to above may be supplied to me. The PIO of FinMin resorted to 6(3) & transferred it. After much traveling my RTI application finally landed with the RBI and RBI after 22 days of receiving my RTI Application issued a notification with a slew of instructions to the Banks on how the accounts and funds in these Dormant & Inoperative a/cs shall be managed. Today I received the official reply from the CPIO, RBI. And once again it was all free since the RBI has exceeded the 30 days deadline. The said circular and the corresponding News articles are available here. Please note that the following circular was non existant at the time of filing my RTI application i.e. on 23rd June 2008. Unclaimed Deposits / Inoperative Accounts in banks News Reports: The Hindu : Business : Customers to get interest on inoperative accounts The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Business | Prop for dormant bank accounts
  15. Attached in a ZIP archive are 5 PDF files detailing the history of my (ongoing) RTI experience with RBI, in an attempt to seek FII data for academic research. The 5 PDF documents contain (a) the original RTI request in April 2007 (b) RBI CPIO denial received in June © appeal to RBI AA sent in July (d) acknowledgment of appeal receipt from RBI in July (e) to CIC in October containing complaint of non-response from RBI AA and appeal against decision of RBI CPIO. Comments, suggestions and ideas welcome. Best, Murgie
  16. sidmis

    No rules on saving footage

    No rules on saving footage: RTI query as reported by Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai, September 27, 2010 If you find that someone has mysteriously withdrawn money from your bank account using an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), do not expect the close circuit television camera in the ATM to help you identify the culprit. Most banks do not preserve the footage these CCTVs record for more than a month. This is what activist Mohamed Afzal found out when he filed an application with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Right To Information Act. The RBI told Khan it has not issued guidelines to banks on the minimum period for which CCTV footage should be preserved. “As a result, citizens are left in a lurch if something goes wrong,” Afzal said. Afzal filed the application after he saw what had happened to 63-year-old Mira Road resident Saifullah Khan (name changed on request). Khan found out in April that somebody had used ATMs to withdraw Rs 3.36 lakh from his bank account over three months. “We wanted the bank to give us the footage captured by close-circuit television cameras in those ATMs so that we could identify the culprit,” Khan’s nephew, Siraj (name changed on request), said. “After dilly-dallying for a month, the manager issued a letter saying the bank preserved the footage only for a month.” Siraj said the manager told them because there were no clear instructions on preserving footage the bank preserved it as long as its infrastructure supported it. “The lack of guidelines means if a bank does not disclose CCTV footage in cases like Khan’s, then there is nothing a common man can do to challenge it,” Afzal said. The manager of a nationalised bank, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “There are no guidelines on how the footage should be stored so every bank takes an individual decision. We preserve the footage on computers until the disk has memory space and on compact discs after that.” The manager said there was an urgent need for the RBI to regulate this practice. “Most banks avoid taking security measures because of the expenditure involved,” the manager said. No rules on saving footage: RTI query - Hindustan Times
  17. Does ICICI bank is covered under RTI Act ?
  18. RBI to roll out records mgmt policy soon as reported in Financial Express, Financial Express Bureaus, Pune: Jun 03, 2010 The RBI will soon roll out an Archival and Records Management Policy. The RBI governor D Subbarao said the committee of the central board of directors had approved it and it will be rolled out and implemented soon. The governor pointed out that the Right to Information Act had added a new dimension to storage and retrieval of information in public institutions. The RBI is now faced with a situation where paper as well as electronic records are being created. “An important task on the way forward for the RBI Archives was to efficiently manage this transition from physical to digital records. The volume of information we are creating and storing is expanding at a mind boggling pace, he said. RBI to roll out records mgmt policy soon
  19. While searching for addresses of all bank, I re visited the RTI page of RBI. I found there is no mention of "Postal Order" for the payment of fee under RTI !!! They claim Cash / Demand Draft / Bank Pay Order are the only method of payment. When I had asked why you are not accepting the Postal Order and demanding Draft,they had sent a xerox of act where Postal order was acceptable instrument. I do not have the scaner hence I am uploading my answers received from RBI tomorrow. Very Interesting is it not? RBI-page5 of 16- RTI desplay.pdf
  20. Computerise all offices, CIC advises RBI As reported in ThaiIndian, April 19th, 2010 ICT by IANS New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, has been advised by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to ensure that all its offices are computerised by the year end. The advise came on an application filed by Shaikh Shafi Ahmed, a resident of Karnataka who asked the RBI details regarding the implementation of the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 by the RBI. But when he didn’t get a satisfactory reply, he approached the CIC. “The appellant (Ahmed) submitted that even after nearly five years of the enactment of the RTI Act, the RBI had not yet completed the requirements under Section 4(1) (a) of that Act… The respondents (RBI) submitted that the RBI was in the process of computerising their offices spread all over India and should be in a position to comply with the requirements of the law as soon as possible,” Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said in his April 8 order. “We take this opportunity to advise the RBI to ensure that the process of computerisation of their offices should be completed within this year,” Mishra said. Section 4 of the RTI Act deals with computerisation of records of a government department and suo moto disclosure of information by it. CIC Decision Computerise all offices, CIC advises RBI
  21. Atul Patankar

    RBI against loan prepayment penalty

    As reported by Himanshi Dhawan at timesofindia.indiatimes.com 22 September 2009 NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India has frowned on the practice of banks slapping penalty charges on premature repayment of loans, saying it did not approve of such charges. However, it stepped back from any role in actually enforcing its point of view. Replying to a query filed under the Right to Information Act, the central bank said, "RBI does not approve of charging penalty or foreclosure charges. We have... advised banks to lay out appropriate internal principles and procedures so that usurious interest including processing and other charges are not levied by them on loans and advances." The central bank also admitted that it had received complaints on charging of penalty on premature payment of loans by banks who had been "suitably advised". But RBI was silent on what action had been taken against banks who refused to follow the advice. The charges disadvantage those wanting to either pay off a loan or move to one offering better terms. Even though most banks operating in India impose such charges, RBI's reply to the RTI query noted, "In the context of granting greater functional autonomy to banks, operational freedom has been given to scheduled commercial banks on all matters pertaining to banking transactions, including foreclosure of loans." The applicant asked RBI if it was aware of private and multinational banks levying foreclosure charges or penalties for premature payment of loans and what steps had been taken in this matter. RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal also asked what steps had been taken by RBI to ensure that uniform interest rates were charged by all banks. For credit card operations, RBI has advised banks to formulate a well documented policy and a fair practice code that charges interest rates that could depend on the payment or the default history of the cardholder. "There should be transparency in levying of such differential interest rates... banks should upfront indicate to the credit card holder, the methodology of calculation of finance charges with illustrative examples, particularly in situations where a part of the amount outstanding is paid by the customer," RBI's CPIO said. The central bank said in order to ensure transparency, banks should use only external or market-based rupee benchmark interest rates for pricing of their floating rate loan products. "Banks should not offer floating rate loans linked to their own internal benchmarks or any other derived rate," it said. Source: RBI against loan prepayment penalty - India Business - Business - NEWS - The Times of India
  22. According to the data released by the Reserve Bank of India, Rs.1188 crore lying unclaimed with Indian Banks in 1.92 crore inactive/dormant accounts as on Dec, 2008. As per the guidelines issued by RBI vide No.DBOD.No.Leg.BC.34/09.07.005/2008-09, dated August 22, 2008, all scheduled banks should make an annual review of accounts in whcih there are no operations for more than one year and approach the customers in writing and ascertain the reasons for non-operation. If the letters are un-delivered banks may immediately be put on enquiry to find out the whereabouts of the customers or their legal heirs in case they are deceased. But banks are not complied with these guidelines. The customers mainly poor, middle class and illeterate's amounts are lying with banks as unclaimed even though they need every rupee for their livelihood. With a motto of that the amount should be either with bank as an "operative" or as cash in the pockets of customers, I have submitted an application requesting CPIO, Andhra Bank,Arundelpet Branch to furnsih the name and address and account no.s of the customers whose amounts are lying as "Un-claimed" for the last 3 years in S.B accounts i.e., accounts not in operation only duly knowing that the information will not be disclosed by the banks under shelter 8 (1) (e) & (j). The CPIO and A.A replied accordingly. Now my contension is that the banks are appointing outside persons as "Recovery Agents" (with the approval of RBI) paying commission for debts recovery from the customers who are due to the bank by giving full particulars of the customers who have taken loans and credit cards from banks i.e., they are disclosing the information of their customers duly violating the rules of the bank "personal information can't be reveal to others". In such a case, my opinion is that the value of cash is same and one whether it belongs to either bank or customer. But the banks are planned to get benefit with the money of the innocent customers by keeping with them as un-claimed deposits. The banks are playing double game in disclosure of information i.e., disclosing information to Recovery Agents and denying the same to others which is not justified. In the above case, Iam going to prefer 2nd appeal to CIC. As the CIC had given decisions in favour of banks in so many cases, my case will also be decided accordingly. But I have to put new aspects to peruse by the CIC as mentined above. Please advice me how to submit 2nd appeal with additional information to the CIC which was not submitted by others previously so as to expose the double game of the banks.
  23. As reported at economictimes.indiatimes.com on 02 February, 2010 NEW DELHI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) does not approve of penalties on foreclosure of loans and admits there is no uniformity among banks on such matters, but appears to have done little to address the problem. This is reflected in two separate sets of replies to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on the issue of high rates of penalties charged on the prepayment of loans, in a practice followed by private, foreign and state-run banks alike. "RBI does not approve the policy of charging penalty/fore closure charges," the central bank said in a reply to a query raised by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, a resident of Chandni Chowk in the capital's old quarters. The central bank goes on to add that guidelines have also been issued to commercial banks to ensure usurious interest, including processing and other charges, is not levied on loans and advances. But in another set of reply, the central bank admits such penalties are, indeed, levied - even by state-run banks. "Banks, including public sector banks, generally levy prepayment charges on loans as prepayment of loans affect their asset-liability management," says the RBI's reply. "There is no uniformity in the practice followed by various banks as the banks have been given freedom to fix service charges for various types of services rendered by them." The replies have left the applicant Agarwal rather clueless. "While RBI has revealed that it does not approve penalty/fore-closure charges on pre-payment of loans, yet on the other hand it has admitted such a faulty practice prevailing in the banks," he said. "If RBI does not approve the policy, it should immediately direct banks not to levy any such fore-closure charges," he added. Source: RBI opposes penalty on loan prepayment, but takes no action- Banking-Banking/Finance-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
  24. Can private banks run 'suspense accounts', CIC asks RBI AS appeard in India News section of TwoCirclesNet on 14 July 2009 New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) If a cheque has a spelling mistake in the recipient's name, can the bank put the money in a temporary account? The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to clarify on this practice. The decision last week came on a Right to Information application filed by Delhi-based RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal with the finance ministry last year. Agrawal told IANS: "One of my unconfirmed sources had told me that in Delhi alone ICICI Bank has nearly Rs.100 crore lying in suspense accounts. So I feel, the RTI Act should also apply to those private sector establishments where public interest is concerned and such malpractices are taking place." Agrawal had asked the ministry if it was aware that ICICI Bank, India's leading private bank, was following the practice of crediting the proceeds of many clearing instruments like cheques and demand drafts, bearing insufficient details about the account holders to a 'suspense account'. He had also asked if the government was going to take any steps to prevent this practice. Not satisfied with the reply he received from the central bank. Agrawal approached the CIC. "We feel that the RBI must write to the appellant again and give a comprehensive reply stating categorically if the RBI had ever issued any instruction on the subject and if, according to the available information with them, such practice is being followed in other banks including public sector banks," Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra of CIC observed in his order. Agrawal has indeed brought "a very important matter to the notice of the authorities through his application which deserves to be taken into account by the RBI for appropriate action. We strongly recommend that this matter should receive attention of the authorities in the RBI", Mishra noted Can private banks run 'suspense accounts', CIC asks RBI | TwoCircles.net
  25. 20/10/2009 tThe section states ; 1*[35A. Power of the Reserve Bank to give directions.-(1) Where the Reserve Bank is satisfied that—>> (a) in the 2*[public interest] ; or 3*[(aa) in the interest of banking policy ; or] (b) to prevent the affairs of any banking company being conducted in a manner detrimental to the interests of the depositors or in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the banking company; or © to secure the proper management of any banking company generally; it is necessary to issue directions to banking companies generally or to any banking company in particular, it may, from time to time, issue such directions as it deems fit, (1) In my view this does not specifically allow RBI to free depsoitor's Fixed deposits; speciallty those that have matured. My RTI on this isue has got a vague reply. First appeal also got a similar vague answer. Does anyone have any answer to the above? (2) also, Need to know how : (A) To which CIC authority the second appeal is to be filed and the exact (B) The postal address to which this appealk to be sent © Whether any more fees to paid. Kotwa
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