New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed RBI to make public Annual Financial Inspection (AFI) reports of banks and also the fines imposed on them based on this exercise.
Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi gave the direction while overruling the objections raised by Reserve Bank of India that these reports are confidential.
RBI had contended that making the reports public might adversly affect the economic interests of the State, harm banks' competitive position and also that the information is held in fiduciary capacity.
"The disclosure may impact the banking sector on the whole. This could trigger a ripple effect on the deposits of not only one bank to which the information pertains but others as well due to contagion effect.
"This has serious implication on financial stability which rests on public confidence in banks and financial institution, besides harming their competitiveness," the RBI submitted before the CIC.
The RBI also cited a previous Full Bench order of the transparency panel in which it said that the Bank was the best body to decided whether disclosure would affect economic interests of the State.
This argument was also rejected by the Commission which said that according to the RTI Act it is the transparency panel which could decide on disclosure issues.
Gandhi however agreed with RBI that disclosure might compromise the safety of whistleblowers, informers and source of information and directed to delete such details from the inspection report before making it public.
First Published: Friday, November 18, 2011, 18:42