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Nanik Premchand Rajwani v. Central Public Information Officer, Union Bank of India - (Central Information Commission) (28 Jun 2016)

Disclosure of bank’s business dissuades “window-dressing”, in public interest


Right to Information

“Any action that results in dissuading commercial entities from indulging in practices such as window-dressing would be in larger public interest”, the Central Information Commission stated, hearing an appeal from an RTI application that had sought specifics on internal functioning of the Union Bank of India.

The Appellant had filed a Right to Information application with the bank, requesting information on its business mix, restricted NPA accounts, and action taken against bank officials who indulged in window-dressing and other unsavoury activities.

CPIO for the bank responded to the application stating that the information was exempt from public disclosure under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act as it would prejudice the economic interests of the bank. Moreover, matters of business mix were of commercial confidence.

The CIC seemed to accept Appellant’s contentions that the bank was hesitant to provide information as it would reveal acts that had adversely affected interests of shareholders. It also noted that the bank published quarterly figures, which would be no less detrimental than the information sought by Appellant.

Relying on earlier Apex precedent, that failure to disclose requisite information under the umbrella of ‘economic interest’ would only attract more suspicion and disbelief, the bench held that disclosure of information concerning daily business mix of a bank does not attract exemption under Section 8.

Relevant : Section 8 Right to Information Act, 2005


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