SC orders RBI to disclose annual inspection reports of banks under RTI

The Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai. (Express Photo)

The Supreme Court Friday ordered the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to disclose its annual inspection report of banks, as sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The bench, headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao, also directed the central bank to review its policy on disclosure of information under the RTI as it is "duty bound under the law", reported news agency PTI.

The Court, which did not initiate contempt proceedings against the RBI, warned that any future violation of the transparency law would be "viewed seriously". In January this year, the Court had issued a contempt notice to the RBI.

The SC Friday was hearing a petition filed by Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who claimed the RBI and its former governor, Urjit Patel, had "willfully and deliberately" disobeyed the Court’s order asking it to disclose information under the RTI Act. The duo had sought contempt action against Patel.

The case was filed after the petitioners were denied copies of inspection reports of ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and State Bank of India from April 2011 till December 2015. They had sought the same under the RTI in December 2015.

The RBI had stated that it was exempt from disclosing information under Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act and Section 45NB of the Reserve Bank of India Act.

The SC, in its judgment in 2016, had said the RBI is not in any fiduciary relationship with any bank.