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SC dismisses the application, sought to recall its judgment directing RBI to issue defaulter list

SC dismisses the application, sought to recall its judgment directing RBI to issue defaulter list

A Division Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Sareen in the matter of Reserve Bank of India v Jayantilal N. Mistry and Another, REED 2021 SC 04005, refused to entertain application seeking to recall its earlier verdict in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry, REED 2015 SC 12009, wherein it was held that the Reserve Bank of India was obliged to disclose defaulters list, inspection reports, annual statements, etc., related to banks under the Right to Information Act, 2005.


The present dispute arose when certain information sought by the Respondents was not given by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the ground that such information is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). Thereafter, the Respondents filed writ petitions before the High Courts, which were transferred on the request of the RBI to the Supreme Court. By a judgment dated 16 December 2015 in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry, REED 2015 SC 12009 (Jayantilal N. Mistry), the SC observed that RBI is not in any fiduciary relationship with the banks and that the RBI has a statutory duty to uphold the interest of the public at large, the depositors, country’s economy and the banking sector. Hence, it was held that RBI is duty-bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and disclose the information sought.


Subsequently, the RBI and several other banks filed several applications before the Apex Court with a prayer to recall its Jayantilal N. Mistry, REED, 2015 SC 12009 verdict contending that the said judgment has far-reaching consequences and the applicants who are directly and substantially affected were not made parties and heard. The Applicants also submitted that the application for recall of the judgment is maintainable as there is a violation of principles of natural justice. 


The Supreme Court at the outset noted that although Order XLVII of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 provides for the remedy of filing an application for review, there is no provision in the Supreme Court Rules for filing an application for recall of its judgment. Further, the Supreme Court distinguished between a review and recall application and noted that while a review petition requires consideration of the matter on merits in case there is an error apparent on the face of record, recall applications can be entertained only in case the judgment is passed without jurisdiction or when a person directly affected by the judgment was not heard. 


However, in the instant matter, though the information pertained to the banks, it was the decision of the RBI which was challenged and decided by the court in Jayantilal N. Mistry case. Moreover, no effort was made by any of the Applicants to get them impleaded when the case was being heard before the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court concluded that the Applicants under the garb of recall application, were seeking a review of the judgment in Jayantilal N. Mistry case.


Accordingly, in view of the foregoing reasons, the Supreme Court dismissed the present application. However, it clarified that the present judgment does not deal with the correctness of Jayantilal N. Mistry case and the Applicants were given the liberty to pursue other remedies available in law against the Jayantilal N. Mistry verdict.

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