Even as the Supreme Court has reiterated that the RBI is duty-bound to disclose list of wilful defaulters under the RTI Act, the State Bank of India, the largest bank in India, has denied the information to an RTI applicant saying the same involves commercial confidence and is held in a fiduciary capacity.
Advocate and Chartered Accountant Nipun Singhvi had sought from SBI list of wilful defaulters declared by it from 2015 to 2019 having default of more than Rs 1 crore.
The SBI denied the information saying, "the information sought involves commercial confidence and is held by the bank in a fiduciary capacity. It is also related to the third party. The same is exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(d)(e) &(j) of RTI Act, 2005".
The information has been denied even as the Supreme Court had in April in the matter titled Girish Mittal v Parvati V Sundaram given RBI the ultimatum to disclose list of loan defaulters and withdraw its present disclosure policy.
Advocate Singhvi says till this day information about a company being in loan default is opaque and not public.
"SBI is the largest bank. If it does not disclose the list, how will someone know if he needs to invest in a company. This disclosure is also necessary because generally the group companies are in default and then the big promoters come in the picture and people need to know about wilful defaulters".