IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
Contempt Petition (C) No.928 of 2016
In(Transfer Case (C) No.95 of 2015)
GIRISH MITTAL…. Petitioner
PARVATI V. SUNDARAM & ANR.…. Respondent (s)
Contempt Petition (C) No.412 of 2016
(Transfer Case (C) No.96 of 2015)
Contempt Petition (C) No.59 of 2017
(Transfer Case (C) No.95 of 2015)
J U D G M E N T
L. NAGESWARA RAO, J.
1. The 3 Contempt Petitions are filed angry of determined and warn insubordination of a directions expelled by this Court in a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015 in Transfer Case (Civil) No.96 of 2015.
2. The theme matter of a visualisation in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry1 is either a information sought underneath a Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as a ‘RTI Act’) can be denied by a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and a other banks on a belligerent of mercantile interest, blurb confidence, fiduciary attribute or open interest. The contribution of all a 11 Writ Petitions that were eliminated to this Court are similar. The information that was sought by a Respondents in a send cases was refused on a belligerent that there was a fiduciary attribute between a RBI and a other banks, and hence, a information can't be disclosed in perspective of a grant underneath Section 8(1)(d) and (e) of a RTI Act. In all a cases that were eliminated to this Court, a Central Information Commissioner destined a RBI to divulge a information sought for by a Respondents in a send cases. The RBI assailed a orders inspected by a Central Information Commission by filing Writ Petitions in a High Courts that were eliminated to this Court and motionless by a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015. In a pronounced visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015, this Court hold that a Right to Information Act, 2005 overrides all progressing laws in sequence to grasp a design and a usually exceptions to entrance to information were those that were contained in Section 8 of a RTI Act. The evidence of a RBI that a information sought for by a Respondents therein was righteously refused on a belligerent of fiduciary relationship, was deserted by this Court. It was celebrated by this Court that there is no fiduciary attribute between a RBI and a financial institutions and by attaching an additional ‘fiduciary’ tag to a orthodox duty, regulatory authorities have intentionally or unintentionally combined an in terrorem effect. This Court serve emphasized that RBI has a orthodox avocation to defend a interests of a public-at-large, a depositors and a country’s economy and a banking sector. This Court was also of a opinion that a RBI should act with clarity and not censor information that competence confuse a particular banks and that a RBI is dutybound to approve with a supplies of a RTI Act and divulge a information sought by a Respondents therein. The acquiescence done on seductiveness of a RBI that a avowal would mistreat a mercantile interests of a republic was found to be totally misconceived. While referring to Section 2(f) of a RTI Act, this Court was of a opinion that a vigilant of a Legislature was to make accessible to a ubiquitous open such information that had been performed by a open authorities from private bodies. On a basement of a above observations, it was hold that a RBI is probable to yield information per investigation reports and other papers to a ubiquitous public.
3. Being alive to Section 8(1) of a RTI Act, underneath that information can be denied to a open to ensure inhabitant security, sovereignty, inhabitant mercantile seductiveness and family with unfamiliar states etc. this Court celebrated that not all a information that a Government generates shall be given to a public. Matters of inhabitant mercantile interest, avowal of information about banking or sell rates, seductiveness rates, taxes, a law or organisation of banking, word and other financial institutions, proposals for output or borrowing and unfamiliar investments could in some cases mistreat a inhabitant economy, particularly, if expelled prematurely. However, lower-level mercantile and financial information like contracts and departmental budgets should not be funded underneath this exemption, according to this Court in a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015. On a basement of a above findings, a send cases filed by a RBI were discharged and a orders inspected by a Central Information Commission were upheld.
4. The Petitioner filed an focus antiquated 12.10.2010 seeking information from a RBI per a detriment to a republic in a unfamiliar derivative agreement cases. According to him, there was a detriment of Rs 32,000/- crores. The Petitioner also sought for a bank-wise dissection of a mark-to-market (MTM) losses. In all, a Petitioner sought information for 10 queries in his application. No respond was given to query numbers 1, 2, 9 and 10. The Appellate Authority underneath a RTI Act destined a RBI to yield information for queries 2, 9 and 10. Incomplete information was given for queries 2, 9 and 10 according to a Petitioner. The Central Information Commission destined a RBI to allow information in honour of queries 1, 2, 9 and 10. In tractability to a instruction expelled by a Central Information Commission, RBI furnished information for queries 2, 9, 10. However, a RBI filed a Writ Petition in a High Court depressed by a directions expelled by a Central Information Commission qua query No.1. After a visualisation of this Court on 16.12.2015, RBI supposing a information for query No.1. Query No. 1 pertained to information per a marketplace waste on comment of banking derivatives to a balance of 32,000/- crores as settled by a RBI in an confirmation filed before a Orissa High Court. The Petitioner sought a bank-wise dissection of a MTM losses. The respond given by a RBI was that there was no anxiety to waste of some-more than 32,000/- crores on comment of banking derivatives in a confirmation filed by RBI in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 344 of 2009 in a High Court of Orissa. The applicable divide of a confirmation filed in High Court of Orissa was also furnished to a Respondent. Not confident with a pronounced information and being assured that a RBI was intentionally self-denial information in annoy of a directions expelled by this Court, this Contempt Petition is filed.
5. The Petitioner filed an focus underneath a RTI Act seeking sum of a Show Cause Notices and fines imposed by a RBI on several banks. The information was not disclosed by a RBI by claiming grant underneath Section 8(1)(a), (d) and (e) of a RTI Act on a belligerent that a avowal would impact a mercantile seductiveness of a country, a rival position of a banks, and that a information can't be disclosed by a RBI as it perceived a same in a fiduciary capacity. The RBI uploaded a Disclosure Policy on 30.11.2016 on a website by that a Public Information Officers were destined not to divulge probably all kinds of information. The Petitioner has filed a above disregard box depressed by a avowal process antiquated 30.11.2016, that according to him, is in approach transgression of a directions expelled by this Court by a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015. One of a exemptions in a avowal process relating to a dialect of banking law was that information relating to specific supervisory issues emanating from investigation or investigation reports perceived from other supervisory departments are exempted from disclosure. Similar grant was given to a investigation reports descending within a reach of a ‘department of banking supervision’. Any information performed from/submitted by banks/Financial Institutions and hold by a RBI in a fiduciary ability was also exempted from disclosure. The schooled warn for a Petitioner submitted that a exemptions from avowal mentioned in a avowal process are discordant to a directions expelled by this Court in a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015.
6. The Petitioner filed an focus underneath a RTI Act on 18.12.2015 seeking information relating to a investigation reports of ICICI bank, AXIS bank, HDFC bank and State Bank of India from 01.04.2011 to a date of filing of a application. The Petitioner sought serve information relating to a Sahara Group of Companies and Bank of Rajasthan. The information sought by a Petitioner was not given by a Central Public Information Officer of a RBI in perspective of a grant from avowal underneath Section 8(1)(a) and (b) as a avowal was not in mercantile seductiveness of a State, and would adversely impact a rival position of a third party. Though a Petitioner was not a celebration to a visualisation of this Court antiquated 16.12.2015, he filed a disregard petition as non-furnishing a information that he sought for was in transgression of a directions expelled by this probity by a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015.
7. Mr. Jaideep Gupta, schooled Senior Counsel appearing for a contemnors done a intrepid bid to stir on us that a visualisation of this probity antiquated 16.12.2015 needs reconsideration. He submitted that there is no goal on a partial of a Respondents to pass a directions given by this Court in a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015. In honour of Contempt Petition (C) No. 412 of 2016, he referred to a applicable component to contention that a usually query that remained to be answered by a RBI was query No.1. After a visualisation of this Court, a information sought for was given to a Petitioner on 18.02.2016. A disregard petition is not maintainable merely given a Petitioner is not confident with a information given to him.
According to Mr. Gupta it is open to a Petitioner to record another focus for serve information if he is of a opinion that a whole information sought by him was not furnished. In any event, according to Mr. Gupta, a Contempt Petition is not maintainable. In so distant as a avowal process antiquated 30.11.2016 is concerned, he argued that a pronounced process is superseded and no censure can be filed opposite a doing of a avowal process as a pronounced process does not exist. Moreover, Mr. Gupta submitted that distribution of a pronounced process can't be hold to be a defilement of a directions given in a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015 mouth-watering a disregard petition. If a Petitioner is depressed by a policy, he has to plea a process by resorting to a remedies accessible to him in law. He sensitive us that a process antiquated 30.11.2016 is transposed by another process that would be put on a website of a RBI. Mr. Gupta heartily submitted that a space was given to a RBI in a matter of providing information on certain issues that were mentioned in divide 77 of a judgment. He referred to a pronounced divide to support a avowal policy. He finally submitted that if this Court feels that a process is in defilement of a directions expelled by this Court, it would be taken off a website. The categorical acquiescence done by Mr. Gupta is that any focus filed underneath a RTI Act shall have to be dealt with alone on a possess merits.
8. There is an component of open process in punishing polite contempt, given administration of probity would be undermined if a sequence of any Court of law could be overlooked with impunity.
2 There is no ambiguity in a visualisation of this Court antiquated 16.12.2015. After holding that there is no fiduciary attribute between a RBI and a other banks, this Court stressed a significance of a RTI Act, and hold that it is in a seductiveness of a ubiquitous open that a information sought for by a Respondents therein has to be furnished. There is a specific anxiety to a investigation reports and a other materials, that were destined to be given to a Respondents therein.
2 Attorney General v. Times Newspapers Ltd. (1973) 3 All ER 54 (HL) The usually difference that was forged out by this Court is in divide 77 of a judgment, particularly, information that has a temperament on a confidence of a State etc. We are not swayed to accept a acquiescence of Mr. Gupta that a visualisation antiquated 16.12.2015 requires reconsideration as we can't cruise a pronounced acquiescence while determining a disregard petitions. After conference a schooled warn for a parties, visualisation was indifferent in this box on 02.04.2019. The new avowal process was uploaded on a RBI website on 12.04.2019. Mr. Pranav Sachdeva, schooled warn for a postulant is right in submitting that a new process that replaces a avowal process antiquated 30.11.2016 leads several departments not to divulge information that was destined to be given by a visualisation of this Court on 16.12.2015. The Respondents, in a opinion, have committed disregard of this Court by exempting avowal of component that was destined to be given by this Court. In all fairness, Mr. Gupta has submitted that a avowal process shall be deleted from a website.
9. We do not determine with Mr. Gupta that a disregard petition is maintainable usually during a insistence of a celebration to a judgment. The directions expelled by this Court are ubiquitous in inlet and any defilement of such directions would capacitate an depressed celebration to record a disregard petition.
10. Though we could have taken a critical perspective of a Respondents stability to violate a directions expelled by this Court, we give them a final event to repel a avowal process insofar as it contains exemptions that are discordant to a directions expelled by this Court. The Respondents are dutybound to allow all information relating to investigation reports and other component detached from a component that was exempted in para 77 of a judgment. Any serve defilement shall be noticed severely by this Court.
11. The disregard petitions are likely of with a above directions.
[L. NAGESWARA RAO]
April 26th 2019