The Supreme Court has directed the Reserve Bank of India to make public annual inspection report of banks under the Right to Information Act, 2005, giving a big boost to transparency.
The court said that the RBI can't refuse to put in the public domain inspection reports of banks like the ICICI Bank, the Axis Bank, theHDFC Bank and the State Bank of India or it will amount to contempt.
The apex court had earlier said it and CIC had given a specific direction in this regard. Earlier, the RBI had refused to disclose such information on the grounds of economic interest and holding such information in fiduciary relationship with individual banks.
The SC bench comprising of Mr. Justices Nageswara Rao and Mr Shah was delivering the Judgment in a contempt petition filed by an RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal against the RBI alleging willful disobedience to the specific directions issued by the court in the Reserve Bank of India Vs Jayantilal N Mistry and others.
In Jayantilal N Mistry case, the top court had held that the RBI is bound to disclose information under the RTI Act. The SC bench has given one last opportunity to RBI to comply with its order and also warned RBI that any further violations of SC's order will result in serious contempt of court proceedings.
Following this SC order, the government has to withdraw non-disclosure policy under RTI for banks. Non-compliance with SC order to result in contempt proceedings.