CIC issues show-cause notice to RBI governor Urjit Patel
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued a show-cause notice to RBI Governor Urjit Patel for “dishonouring” a Supreme Court judgment on disclosure of the wilful defaulters’ list. The CIC has also asked the Prime Minister’s Office, the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make public the letter of former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan on bad loans.
Irked over the denial of information on disclosure of names of wilful defaulters who have taken bank loans of Rs 50 crore and above by the RBI in spite of a Supreme Court order, the CIC has asked Patel to explain why a maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for “dishonouring” the court verdict, which had upheld a decision taken by then information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, calling for disclosure of names of wilful defaulters.
Patel, speaking at the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on September 20, had said the guidelines on vigilance, issued by the CVC, were aimed at achieving greater transparency, promoting a culture of honesty and probity in public life and improving the overall vigilance administration in the organisations within its purview, the CIC pointed out.
“The commission feels that there is no match between what RBI governor and deputy governor say and their website regarding their RTI policy, and a great secrecy of vigilance reports and inspection reports is being maintained with impunity, in spite of the Supreme Court confirming the orders of the CIC in the Jayantilal case,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said.
He concluded that it would not serve any purpose to punish the CPIO for this defiance, because he acted under the instructions of the top authorities.
“The commission considers the governor as the deemed PIO responsible for non-disclosure and defiance of SC orders and CIC orders and directs him to show cause why a maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for these reasons,before November 16,” Acharyulu said.
He rejected the arguments of Santosh Kumar Panigrahy of the RBI that section 22 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act would not override various laws he quoted, prohibiting disclosure of names and details of wilful defaulters and hence, the RBI should be discharged from the obligations of disclosure. “His contention that unless the above referred enactments are repealed, the RBI cannot disclose the details of defaulters is also absurd,” Acharyulu said.