New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt notice to the Reserve Bank of India based on two petitions which alleged that the central bank did not provide the information required. The information sought was regarding the inspection reports of some banks and on the alleged irregularities of the central bank in the case of Sahara Group of companies under the transparency law.

Based on a petition filed by a Mumbai resident, a bench headed by Justice Nageshwar Rao issued the notice. The Mumbai resident had contended that the central bank denied sharing the information sought despite the Supreme Court rulings on the issue.

Similarly, the RBI had refused to disclose the information sought by petitioner Girish Mittal under the RTI Act in December 2015. Mittal, who was represented by senior counsel Prashant Bhushan and Pranav Sachdeva, contended that he had sought copies of inspection reports of ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and SBI from April 2011 and copies of cases files with file notings on various irregularities detected by RBI in the case of Sahara Group of companies and erstwhile Bank of Rajasthan.

The contempt petition was filed for “denial of information”, said Mittal. The petition recalled the Supreme Court ruling in a case that clearly said that RBI is not in any fiduciary relationship or relationship of ‘trust’ with any bank. RBI has no legal duty to maximise the benefit of any public sector or private sector bank. In that case, the apex court observed, “The RBI ought to act with transparency and not hide information that might embarrass individual banks. It is duty bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and disclose the information sought.”

(With Agency inputs)