Bombay HC Grants Interim Stay On CIC’s Order Directing RBI To Disclose Wilful Defaulters’ List

Bombay HC Grants Interim Stay On CIC’s Order Directing RBI To Disclose Wilful Defaulters’ List

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted interim stay on Central Information Commission’s order directing the RBI to submit a list of wilful defaulters with a bad loan of over Rs. 1,000 crore. The CIC had also issued a notice to then RBI Governor Urjit Patel for non-compliance of its orders on November 2, 2018.

A division bench of Justice BP Dharmadhikari and Justice SV Kotwal stayed the said notice that was issued to the RBI Governor. The bench was hearing a petition filed by the RBI against the CIC’s order.

The RBI argued in its petition that the Union Home Ministry gave the information (disclosure of wilful defaulters) in a confidential manner and had communicated to the RBI not to disclose these names as it was a matter of national security which could be jeopardized with such disclosure. Terming the CIC order arbitrary and illegal, the RBI stated that such information provided by the Union Home Ministry is passed to the banks and no database of such information is maintained.

Appearing for the RBI, Senior Advocate Venkatesh Dhond submitted that the CIC had passed these orders without giving his client an opportunity to argue their case as RBI was not even a party in the case wherein the CIC passed the said orders. Dhond further submitted that data collected from banks is confidential and cannot be shared by the RBI. Also, a petition filed on similar lines is pending before the Supreme Court, Dhond said.

The CIC had passed these directions in an application filed by one Sandeep Singh who sought details of bank loan defaulters from the RBI.

Finally, the court granted interim stay on the CIC order and issued a notice to the CIC. The next date of hearing is April 19, 2019.