From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : RBI and autonomy issue
- The Supreme Court gave the RBI “a last opportunity” to withdraw a November 2016 Disclosure Policy to the extent to which it stonewalls revelation of every other kind of information under the Right to Information Act, including the list of willful defaulters and annual inspection reports.
Last warning to RBI
- The policy was found to be directly contrary to the court’s judgment of December 2015 that the Reserve Bank could not withhold information sought under the RTI Act.
- The 2015 judgment had rejected the RBI’s argument that it could refuse information sought under the RTI on the grounds of economic interest, commercial confidence, fiduciary relationship or public interest.
- The court had observed that there was “no fiduciary relationship between the RBI and the financial institutions”.
- The court, in 2015, reminded the RBI that it had the statutory duty to uphold the interests of the public at large, the depositors, the economy and the banking sector.
Why did RBI refuse?
- The RBI had refused to provide information to the petitioner, claiming “fiduciary relationship” between itself and the banks in question.
- Such information, the regulator had then said, was exempted from being revealed under Section 8(1) (d) and (e) of the RTI Act.
- Section 8 allows the government to withhold from public some information in order to “guard national security, sovereignty, national economic interest, and relations with foreign states”.
- The information to the petitioners was denied by the RBI despite orders from the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) to do so.