PSBs among leading govt bodies in rejecting RTI pleas: Study
Public sector banks, which are reeling under a huge burden of growing non-performing assets and being probed by central agencies, have emerged as the leading public authorities in terms of rejecting RTI pleas, an analysis by a voluntary group shows. The 26 public sector banks, including the RBI, got 9% of the total RTI applications received by all central authorities.
Banks received 86,000 RTI applications during 2016-17
PSBs account for 33% of the rejections reported by all the authorities, said Venkatesh Nayak of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative who crunched data from the annual report of the Central Information Commission. The banks received 86,000 RTI applications during 2016-17, said a CHRI report.
State Bank of Hyderabad rejected 71% RTIs in 2016-17
PSBs' rate of rejection of RTI applications was much higher as compared to other public authorities under the Government of India. Resistance to transparency seems to have increased during this period, particularly when the banking sector is going through a difficult phase, Nayak said. The CIC data also shows that the State Bank of Hyderabad rejected 71% of the RTI pleas in 2016-17.
Oriental Bank of Commerce declined every second plea
The Oriental Bank of Commerce declined every second plea recording a 50% rejection rate. The Corporation Bank's rejection rate was 47.3%, while the Andhra Bank rejected 45.9% of the RTI queries received in 2016-17. "Both Dena Bank and Canara Bank dismissed more than 40% of the pleas. Six other PSBs rejected more than one-third of the RTI applications, he said.
PNB denied around 30% of RTI pleas
The Punjab National Bank, at the center of an over Rs. 12,000cr fraud by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, denied about 33% of the pleas, according to the report. The banks cited "others" as the reason for turning down the applications which implies that they did not invoke exemption clauses under Sections 8, 9, 11, and 24 of the RTI Act, Nayak said.
RBI too rejected 57% pleas under 'others' category
"The RBI also rejected more than half (57 percent) of the applications under the others category. Only the Indian Bank and the Union Bank of India did not reject any plea under this category," Nayak said.