Heat on RBI, banks to reveal defaulters | Business Standard News

Heat on RBI, banks to reveal defaulters | Business Standard News

My VIEW:


Public
interest, beyond RTI

This refers to the report
“Heat on RBI, banks to reveal defaulters”(Business Standard, December 17). The Supreme Court’s
observations quoted here are of great significance, not only because they
relate to citizen’s rights, but in the context of transparency issues in the
conduct of statutory bodies and government departments which enjoy certain
rights and privileges because of the nature of responsibilities entrusted to
them.
The temptation on the
part of government to bring in ‘ownership rights’ or on the part of regulators
and supervisors to take shelter under provisions of the statute book meant to
protect institutions and their clientele from embarrassment in exceptional
situations, in a routine manner, should be avoided.
The observations of the
Apex Court goes much beyond the issue of parting with information under RTI
Act. The court says, “The facts reveal that as banks are trying to cover up
their underhand actions, they are even more liable to be subjected to public
scrutiny”. Without fighting this from a mere legal angle, or trying to protect
the image, by falling back on the secrecy clauses, RBI need to go by the spirit
of the observations by the highest court.
A quick gesture could be
to initiate measures to make public, information the central bank is in
possession and considers useful for banks’ clientele in deciding their
relationship with individual banks. If legal provisions stand in the way, they
should be got amended, as ‘ease to do business’ include information about the
profile of the institution with which a customer deals.


M
G Warrier,
Mumbai

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