RTI cannot be used for bank dealings
By Rahul Mangaonkar,TNN, 7 May 2008

AHMEDABAD: Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that an applicant cannot have access to information regarding a bank's transactions under Right to Information (RTI), as they have to maintain the secrecy of these transactions.

This stands good for even for an applicant who is an owner of the land regarding which the information was being sought.

Mangaldas and Brother Pvt Ltd (M&B), a city-based firm had, under RTI, sought from the State Bank of India's Ellisbridge branch, a certified copy of title deeds of a property mortgaged in the bank's favour by another company, Aroydaya Spinning and Weaving Co. Ltd (ASWC).

The central public information officer (CPIO) of SBI denied saying that it was personal information having no relationship with any public activity and would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy.

On getting M&B's appeal, the appellate authority of SBI justified the CPIO's decision.

Before CIC, the SBI officers submitted that title deeds in question were deposited with the bank by ASWC to create equitable mortgage. Furnishing copies to anyone else could affect the interest of the mortgager and the mortgage. Further, as it had to maintain secrecy of transactions of its customers, it could not be furnished.

SBI said M&B had claimed that they could not be termed as "outsider" as they are the registered owners of the land. The CPIO had informed them that this information could be obtained from the office of the sub-registrar.

As far as SBI was concerned, they were only concerned with the mortgage executed by the ASWC and they alone were entitled to have this information.

Information commissioner Padma Balasubramanian dismissed M&B's appeal.