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Thread: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

  1. Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    IS IT AN ABUSE OF RTI ACT 2005 ??????

    Decision : Appeal no. 797/ ICPB / 2007 (F no. PBC / 07 / 090)

    In Chair : Mrs Padma Balasubramanian – Information Commissioner

    Dated : August 16, 2007

    This appeal u/s 19 was filed by Mr Surendra Singh, Lucknow against Allahabad Bank. Mr Singh had made application dated 20.09.2006 under RTI Act 2005 to CPIO & Deputy General Manager of Allahabad Bank, Gorokhpur Zonal Office to learn the details SB A/c no. 123 and fixed deposit amount left by his Late father Mr Ramji Singh Raghubansi and also demanded inspection of the same records with the bank.

    CPIO did not reply.

    Mr Surendra Singh made application to Appellate Authority & Executive Director of Allahabad Bank on 01.02.2007. The Appellate Authority in his decision of 19.03.2007 had instructed CPIO to provide all information in detail about bank balance / maturity date of fixed deposits / nomination etc of Late Ramji Singh Raghubansi. However Appellate Authority did not allow the inspection of such bank documents.

    Mr Surendra Singh preferred appeal u/s 19 on last 19.03.2007 and Information Commissioner upheld the Appellate Authority decision and further decided that appellant shall have to establish his right a legal heir to the satisfaction of the Bank authority to carry out inspection of the documents.

    A question arises on the action of Appellate Authority who is also a very senior officer (Executive Director) of Allahabad bank. The Appellate Authority has clearly violated RBI Guidelines as stated in Clause 5 – Privacy And Confidentiality (Banking Code And Standards Board of India).

    It is also a standard practice of Bank to divulge accounts related information only in EOS (either or survivor) accounts. It is mandatory for Bank authority to supply information in all other cases only after establishment as legal heir to the account holder who has died. Banks do insist for Succession certificate from Court of Law.

    How can Bank (in this case Appellate Authority under RTI Act ) divulge account related information of individual account holder ( A “Third Party” here as per RTI ACT and dead too). ??????

    Is it time for RTI Activists to ponder whether there was any connivance or unholy nexus between Mr Surendra Singh and Executive Director of Allahabad Bank to use RTI Act to extract such confidential information from Bank by using RTI ACt 2005 !

  2. #2
    Col NR Kurup (Retd)
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    Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    I could not digest that the Appellate Authority, a senior official of the bank is not aware of such basic Regulations when he issued his orders favoring Mr.Surendra Singh. I do not rule out your suspicion. He is liable to justify his ignorance/unholy nexus to his superior authority if the Bank care to probe the issue further.

  3. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    Many thanks for your concurrence with my view. Now how to take it forward ? We RTI activists believe in a less corrupt society and transparent Government system. Since it is palpably evident that there may be a collusion or unholy nexus to get this confidential information of a bank account of a third party (dead) via RTI Act - I shall look forward to the comments of senior RTI activists who make regular contribution to various forums here.

  4. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    Possible forum to lodge complaint is DARPG-PGRAMS for "Public Grievance Lodging and Monitoring System" at Ministry of Administrative Reforms and Personnel, GOI, New Delhi. Public Sector Banks are covered in the list of organisations for lodging such complaints. Facility is available (with password) for on-line view the status of complaint / for reminders / for clarifications.

    Beyond MAR&AP, PMO website for such complaints is Directorate of Public Grievances.

    In either case, first the matter should be taken up with CMD Allahabad Bank / Ministry of Finance GOI and then only above provisions should be used.

    It requires patience and follow up is a must to get resuults.

  5. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    I have carefully gone through the decision of the IC in this appeal. There are several missing links in this case and glaring lacuna on the part of Allahabad Bank too.

    In an earlier decision on a similar matter connected with the same Allahabad Bank, IC Prof Ansari had given the following ruling: Decision No. 443/IC(A)/2006 F.No.CIC/MA/A/2006/00168 dated 12.12.2006
    "There is an established procedure to decide as to who would be the claimant of the money in the bank account of the deceased persons. Accordingly, the CPIO is directed to allow her access to the bank account of her deceased brother and furnish the information sought by her provided that she is able to prove and produce the certificate to the effect that she is the legal heir of her deceased brother."

    I fail to understand how this ruling was ignored by the AA in the present case.

    This apart, in the instant case, nobody has disputed the fact that Surendra Singh is the son of Ramji Singh Raghuvanshi. From the decision of CIC it is clear that the AA has refered the matter to the CPIO concerned twice before coming to a conclusion, which is by way of his detailed speaking order. Unfortunately we do not have any access to the comments of the CPIO and the detailed speaking order of the AA in this case.

    But the IC who heard the case had access to all these records and has gone on record stating:

    After going through the appellate decision I am fully convinced that the AA has taken a right decision of providing sufficient information to the appellant to establish his right as legal heir in claiming this amount or collecting this information.

    In view of the above I feel that it may not be proper for us to jump to a conclusion of "connivance and unholy nexus" without having an opportunity to study the detailed speaking order of the AA.

    Last edited by ganpat1956; 25-08-07 at 10:58 PM.

  6. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    Is there an agreement that (1) Appellate Authority who is also a very senior officer (Executive Director) of Allahabad bank has clearly violated RBI Guidelines as stated in Clause 5 – Privacy And Confidentiality (Banking Code And Standards Board of India) (2) what about the the question of Third party involvement (in this case a dead man) (3) where is even a whisper in AA order the appelant is a son & legal heir and (4) why the inspection of documents is necessary and hence the apeal was made before CIC. Informations were enough to apply for succession certificate
    Last edited by Debashis Basu; 26-08-07 at 06:44 AM.

  7. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    I agree that no action should be taken without thoroughly studying the case and asecrataining the facts. That is the first and the foremost pre-requisite before taking up the matter suitably at appropriate level for corrective action, if needed.

  8. Re: Is It An Abuse Of Rti Act 2005 ?

    Wonderful infact oriented thread by Basu

    I would also appreciate the way Ganpat has suggested for not jumping into conclusion

    But I strongly feel that BASU has a point....

    and can proove it once he views his point through these lines

    Last edited by Abhinav Bohare; 26-08-07 at 09:25 AM. Reason: words

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