Major banks like State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have moved the Supreme Court against allowing their inspections reports, submitted to the Reserve Bank of India, to be open to the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Opposing allowing disclosure of big defaulters under RTI, SBI's counsel told the top court, "How can we break customers' trust by disclosing their personal info?"
Banks are aggrieved by the notices issued by the RBI to them under Section 11(1) of the RTI Act asking them to part with information pertaining to their inspection reports and risk assessment.
Saying that people have made a business out of RTI, SBI argued that the bank enjoys trust and faith of customers, which it cannot break.
It said a two-judge bench had asked RBI to disclose personal information about defaulters, and urged the apex court to refer the matter to a three-judge bench and not hear any contempt plea against the order passed by the two-judge bench till then.
Meanwhile, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank argued that RTI Act can only apply to government offices and entities, not private banks. They said RTI activists are seeking information about customers of private banks in the garb of RBI's inspection reports, and the disclosure will harm competitive position of third parties.
Earlier, Punjab National Bank had also moved to the top court against RBI's notice to disclose information such as defaulters list and its inspection reports under the RTI Act.
On April 28, the top court, on legal grounds, had refused to recall its famous 2015 judgment in the Jayantilal N Mistry case, which had held that the RBI will have to provide information about banks and financial institutions (FIs) regulated by it under the transparency law.
Several FIs and banks, including Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, UCO Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank had filed applications in the top court seeking a recall of the 2015 judgment in the Jayantilal N Mistry case, saying the verdict had far-reaching consequences and moreover, they were directly and substantially affected by it.
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