On 21st December, the Chief Information Commission (CIC) while rejecting the RTI application has quoted that “there is no larger public interest overriding the right to privacy of the donors and donees of electoral bonds.
Earlier, an application was filed by RTI applicant, Vihar Durve seeking details of donor and donee of Electoral Bonds from the Accounts book of SBI’s bank four Branches; (i.e., (a) SBI Mumbai Main Branch Code 00300 (b) SBI Chennai Main Branch Code 00800 (c) SBI Kolkata Main Branch Code 00001 d) SBI New Delhi Main Branch Code 00691). And the same was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the State Bank of India, Mumbai on the ground that the same is exempted under Section 8(1)(e) and (j) of RTI Act.
He then filed a petition challenging the same before the First Appellate Authority which held that the information sought by Durve was in a fiduciary capacity by the bank. And therefore, he approaches the Chief Information Commission (CIC) by filing Second Appeal.
While dismissing the appeal, the Chief Information Commissioner Suresh Chandra held that such disclosure of the names of the donors and donees of electoral bonds from books of accounts “may be in contravention” of the provisions contained under section 8 (1) (e) and (j) of RTI Act. He further emphasized in his order stating;
“The Commission upholds the contention of the respondent that in the disclosure of the names of the donors and donees of electoral bonds from books of accounts may be in contravention of the provisions contained under section 8 (1) (e) and (j) of RTI Act. There appears to be no larger public interest overriding the right to privacy of the donors and donees concerned,”
Moreover, a petition challenging the validity of electoral bonds is also pending before the Supreme Court. Perhaps, the apex court has time pertaining to validity which is yet to be decided.
**Section 8(1)(e) RTI Act – exempts disclosure of information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship unless larger public interest warrants such disclosure.
**Section 8(1)(j) RTI Act – protects information which involves the privacy of individual unless such disclosure is warranted by larger public interest.