SBI, HDFC Bank move SC against RBI directive to provide data under RTI act

SBI, HDFC Bank move SC against RBI directive to provide data under RTI act

State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank have moved the Supreme Court and sought a stay on the Reserve Bank of India's directive to banks to provide financially sensitive data under the RTI act, The Times of India reported on Friday.

According to the report, the two largest banks of India feared that such directive could be detrimental to their business operations and compromise the confidentiality of customer information.

The case was heard by a bench of Justices L N Rao and Aniruddha Bose.

From SBI and HDFC side, solicitor general Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi told the bench that divulging sensitive information like inspection reports/risk assessment reports/annual financial inspection reports of banks would render them vulnerable in the competitive banking sector to rivals.

Further, the rivals could exploit the RTI Act to know the trade secrets and internal strengths of successful banks.

Though the direction was sought against RBI, it was aimed at the SC’s order that allowed divulging of such data, the report added.

In its 2015 judgement, SC had directed RBI to release its annual introspection reports under the RTI act. The apex court had said that the central bank has a duty to uphold the public interest at large, the depositors, the country's economy and the banking sector.

The newspaper further quoted SBI advocate Sanjay Kapur saying, “In view of the judgment in Jayantilal N Mistry case, the RBI is seeking disclosure of confidential and sensitive information of the applicant bank, including information of its employees and its customers, purportedly under the Right to Information Act, 2005, which are otherwise exempt under the provisions of Section 8 of said Act.”