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Supreme Court denies plea seeking stay on disclosure notices issued to banks by RBI under RTI Act

The Supreme Court of India on 2 July 2021, denied the Punjab National Bank and the Union Bank of India to give stay on the RTI notices issued to them by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to disclose the information regarding the defaulter's list, inspection reports, etc. The case is to be heard now on 19 July. The banks are contending that the notices issued by RBI to them under section 11(1) of the RTI Act as regards the inspection reports for the financial years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. Section 11 of the act empowers the information officer to seek information from third parties in RTI applications. And section 11(1) is an advance notice issued inviting the third party’s objection to such disclosure.

This RTI notices to the banks were issued post the 28 April 2021 order of the Supreme Court refusing to accept the relevance of the Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry and Another, judgment which mentioned that RBI has to disclose the defaulters' list, inspection reports, annual statements related to banks as per RTI Act. The Court in the present case opined that the Supreme Court Rules did not contain any provision for filing an application for recall of a judgement. However, banks were allowed to avail of other alternate legal remedies. Consequently, the banks filed a plea seeking the cancellation of the notice of disclosure issued by the RBI. They were contending that disclosure of confidential financial information would be harmful to their businesses. Additionally, they also contended that disclosure of internal reports will lead to exploitation from competitors as well.

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