With the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Governor Urijit Patel failing to disclose the list of wilful defaulters to the Central Information Commission (CIC), a pertinent question arises: “Is RBI faltering in its obligation towards the Right to Information (RTI) Act?” The RTI Act was enacted by the Government of India and it came into effect from October 12, 2005.
Under this Act, the RBI is obliged to furnish information to the public. The RTI Act is framed with the intention of giving the citizens of India access to information which is under the control of public authorities, in order to promote accountability and transparency in these organizations.
The CIC has issued a show-cause notice to the RBI Governor Urijit Patel for dishonoring a Supreme Court judgment pertaining to the disclosure of willful defaulters’ list. These defaulters have taken bank loans of Rs 50 crores and above. Patel did not share the information despite an order issued by the Supreme Court of India to furnish the same. Thus, the CIC has slapped a show-cause notice to him and asked Patel to explain why a maximum penalty shouldn’t be imposed on him for dishonoring the verdict.
The CIC pointed out that on September 20, while speaking at the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Patel had mentioned that the vigilance guidelines issued by the CVC are meant for promoting a culture of honesty and is aimed at achieving greater transparency. He further added that the guidelines help in improving the overall vigilance administration in the organizations under its purview, as reported on BloombergQuint.
The RBI has an established communication policy under which it regularly releases data and information on the Indian economy, finance and banking. It releases the same at regular set time intervals. Apart from this, through occasional publications, such as reports and studies, the RBI also releases information as and when required, as reported on its website.
Information Commissioner, Sridhar Acharyulu stated that the CIC feels that there is a mismatch between what RBI Governor, Urijit Patel says and what their official website projects pertaining to their RTI policy. He further added that great secrecy of inspection reports and vigilance reports is being maintained with impunity in spite of the Supreme Court confirming the CIC orders in the Jayantilal case.[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]