Money & Banking

Wilful defaulters: Bombay HC stays CIC fiat to RBI on list

Mumbai | Updated on December 15, 2018

The Bombay High Court, on Friday, granted interim stay on orders passed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Reserve Bank of India to submit a list of wilful loan defaulters.

A division bench of Justices BP Dharmadhikari and SV Kotwal also stayed a show-cause notice issued on November 2 this year by the CIC to former RBI Governor Urjit Patel for non-disclosure of the information sought and for defiance of its orders.

The RBI had petitioned the High Court last month challenging orders passed by the CIC directing it to disclose the bad debt details of defaulters worth more than ₹1,000 crore at the beginning and those worth ₹500 crore or less at a later stage.

On November 2, the CIC had issued a show-cause notice to Patel for “dishonouring” a Supreme Court judgment on disclosure of the list of wilful defaulters.

The notice was issued after the RBI failed to give the list. The CIC had, in its notice, said it considers the RBI Governor as deemed Public Information Officer (PIO) responsible for non-disclosure and defiance of its orders.

The commission asked Patel to explain why maximum penalty should not be imposed on him.

On November 16, the CIC once again asked the RBI to submit the list and also the previous RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan’s letter on bad loans.

The CIC was hearing the plea of one Sandeep Singh, who had sought details of loan defaulters. Senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond, appearing for the RBI, told the High Court on Friday that the CIC order has been passed without giving a hearing to the RBI.

“Information of such nature if disclosed could harm the national economy. In such situation, the CIC order and the impugned notice issued on November 2 are ex facie illegal, arbitrary and unsustainable,” RBI said in its petition.

Published on December 15, 2018

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