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Thread: Account details of bank customers protected from disclosure: CIC

  1. #1

    Account details of bank customers protected from disclosure: CIC

    The Central Information Commission has ruled that information pertaining to account details of bank customers is exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act.

    Upholding the decision of the Canara Bank, which refused to disclose the details about the Non Performing Accounts (NPA ) of other parties and the settlement that the Bank has entered with them, Information Commissioner Padma Balasubramaniam said that an information which is either a matter concerning commercial confidence or available to a person in fiduciary relationship or which is a personal information having no relationship with any public activity or interest, is exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act.

    The ruling came on the appeal of one Rajan Verma of Amritsar, who wanted detailed information about the compromise done by the Canara Bank in respect of Non-Performing Accounts (NPA) of all parties settled during the last five years by the Jalandhar branch of the Bank. The Bank refused to disclose this information on the grounds that the information is exempt from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act and the bank is bound to maintain confidentiality of the details of the accounts of its customers.

    Dismissing the appeal, the Commission observed that the RTI Act exempts from disclosure any information which would harm the competitive position of the third party including an information relating to commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, personal information and information held in trust . “A one-time settlement that has been arrived at by the bank in respect of a NPA being a matter of commercial confidence, the bank is under no obligation to disclose such information unless it is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

    The facts of the case reveals that the appellant is seeking the details of accounts of other private individuals with a view to protect his personal interests as he happens to be a guarantor in respect of a loan granted by the Bank which became an NPA. Moreover, the information concerning other parties are certainly personal information and the bank holds such information concerning private persons in a relationship of a trust and as such it cannot be disclosed,” the order stated.

    New Delhi, Nov 15
    Express News Service

  2. Re: Account details of bank customers protected from disclosure: CIC

    This is good decision.
    RTI India Network Staff Member

  3. #3

    Re: Account details of bank customers protected from disclosure: CIC

    Quote Originally Posted by maneesh View Post
    This is good decision.
    Hello Maneesh,

    I beg to differ from your views.

    Here we are not dealing with ordinary accounts, but accounts that have become NPAs and related issues like one time settlements(ots). Huge money is involved here and the whole system stinks.

    It's the duty of the banks to come clean on them under section 4 through voluntary disclosure. Instead they are trying to protect the NPA accounts. In whose interest?

    A year back Hon. Madras High court delivered a very good judgment saying that 'Duty to disclose information supersedes duty of secrecy'.

    See the Hindu article here.
    The Hindu : Tamil Nadu News : Bank can publish defaulters' photos, says High Court

    IMHO this decision needs to be reversed in larger public interest.

    Last edited by sidmis; 17-11-07 at 10:52 AM.

  4. Re: Account details of bank customers protected from disclosure: CIC

    I fully agree with Sidharth on this issue. If such write-offs and compromise settlements by nationalised banks get suppressed, it will lead to a big racketeering in the public money.

    The balance sheet of these banks are silent on the details of such individual compromise settlements and even the share holders in these banks do not have any inkling about the number and quantum of such write-offs. The general citizens should also have a right to know the details of the selective borrowers who have reaped the benefits of such one time settlements at the cost of others.

    In the interest of transparency, this decision of the CIC needs to be reviewed.
    Defeat is not final when you fall down. It is final when you refuse to get up.


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