The court is not the only authority annoyed with the intransigence of the central bank from parting with information on big loans.
The country’s central banking institution seems headed for a head-on collision with the Supreme Court in the matter of falling in line with transparency norms. Things have come to such a pass that the Reserve Bank of India has been hauled up unequivocally for wilful disobedience of top court orders with regard to disclosing information about its annual inspection of banks report under the Right to Information Act. The previous Governor Urjit Patel, who had stood up for RBI’s autonomy right through to the day he put in his papers, seems to have determined that the bank would not part with such “fiduciary” information as sought by RTI activists. The court is not the only authority annoyed with the intransigence of the central bank from parting with information on big loans. The Information Commissioner too had passed several strictures on this reluctance on the part of the bankers to adhere to transparency norms in the matter of loans.
The primacy of the Right to Information Act was upheld by the Supreme Court even in the Rafale review case. This makes the reluctance of RBI to accept the court ruling that Section 22 of the RTI Act overrides the RBI Act even harder to understand. The argument that such disclosures would threaten the economy itself is specious. RBI’s failure to disclose to citizens who the defaulters are and what action is being taken to recover huge loans advanced is tantamount to negating RTI, disrespecting the will of Parliament and the Supreme Court. It is the money of the people of India that goes down the drain in the NPAs of banks and in the failure of big businesses to live up to being steadfast in servicing loans. Is there not a moral duty to be fulfilled in this?