The report of inspection conducted by RBI has information about the biggest borrowers and several provisions under the RTI Act prohibit the disclosure of third-party information, HDFC Bank said in its argument to oppose RBI's directive to disclose information from inspection reports. Banks, including HDFC Bank, SBI, IDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank are opposing the directive on various factors, including the right to privacy.
Some of India's largest banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and IDFC Bank have joined hands before the Supreme Court to oppose Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) directive for disclosing inspection reports under Right to Information (RTI) Act.
"We have the trust and faith of customers, how can that be disclosed to the general public under RTI," SBI told the apex court. It asserted that people have made a business out of the RTI act, adding that the information they are seeking is confidential under law, and there is a statutory embargo on it.
Earlier in July, Supreme Court had refused the plea by Punjab National Bank and Union Bank of India to stay notices by RBI to disclose information related to defaulters list, inspection reports, etc.
HDFC Bank argued that under the RTI Act, "government authorities are supposed to disclose information," and the act "does not apply to the private banks."
The report of inspection conducted by the apex bank has information about the biggest borrowers and several provisions under the RTI Act prohibit the disclosure of third-party information, HDFC Bank said.
"Suppose Tata, Birla Group want to borrow money to develop electric cars, this commercially sensitive information is a part of the inspection reports," HDFC Bank said.
"Why does a layman need inspection reports of 14 banks," HDFC Bank questioned. The Supreme Court has held privacy as a fundamental right, so the account details, the quantum of transactions of individuals can't be disclosed, it added.
Under the directives of RBI, inspection reports are kept confidential even from the employees of the bank. The Supreme Court will hear the case on July 22, Thursday.