Disclosure policy: RBI to upload revised version

The Reserve Bank of India is working on revising its disclosure policy which falls under the Right to Information Act and will upload the revised version after the results of the Lok Sabha Polls 2019 are announced. 

The RBI had previously updated its disclosure policy on the official website on April 30. The update was made in order to reflect the omission of selected clauses, which, however, proved to objectionable to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had ordered the central bank to make its confidential data public. 

“This is just removing a few sensitive clauses that the Supreme Court had found objectionable. This is in no way a finished product. We will come up with the updated policy in a manner that won’t contravene the Supreme Court order and also ensure that the RBI is not on the wrong side of the law,” said a senior official of the central bank to Business Standard. 

The RBI in its initial update had deleted two sections, 8(1) (a) and 8(1) (d). Section 8(1)(d) states that “information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information”.

And Section 8(1)(d) states that “information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information”.

“Lower-level economic and financial information such as contracts and departmental budgets should not be withheld under this exemption, according to this Court in the judgment dated 16.12.2015,” said the Supreme Court ruling. However, the court did concede that issues of national economic interest; disclosure of information regarding currency or exchange rates; regulation or supervision of banking, insurance and other financial institutions; proposals for expenditure or borrowing, and foreign investments, could all, in some cases, harm the national economy, especially if released prematurely, the Business Standard observed. 

The Reserve Bank hadn’t previously divulged information regarding the scrutiny of private or public banks to the public but would have to do so following the results of the Lok Sabha polls owing to the Supreme Court judgement. 

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