How much respect should the order of the Supreme Court command?
It has been more than three years since the Supreme Court directed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make the disclosure as per the law and spirit of the RTI Act, 2005. However, the same is yet to see the light of the day. While the Supreme Court is the highest judicial body, the RBI remains India’s central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Rupee.
The readers may recall the analysis of the judgment given under the heading – “RBI does not have a fiduciary relationship with the banks for which it is the regulatory authority”
A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and M.R. Shah preferred to give a last chance to the RBI to follow the judgment. Hearing a contempt petition filed by SC Agrawal against the RBI, the bench observed that “The RBI is duty-bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and disclose the information... the submission made on behalf of the RBI that the disclosure would hurt the economic interests of the country was found to be totally misconceived.”
In the 12 page verdict, a final chance was given to the RBI “We give them a last opportunity to withdraw the disclosure policy insofar as it contains exemptions which are contrary to the directions issued by this court.” There appeared a threat in the observation of the bench, “Any further violation shall be viewed seriously.”
When an institution like RBI which is at the head of the helm of affairs on the monetary policy and other important functions fails to give the due respect to the directions of the Apex Court, the results are definitely not good for the country. Instead of dragging over the matter, the RBI should have come up with pro-active disclosure policy to regain the lost esteem and build up confidence that it can be trusted with the responsibility it has.
It shows the fallacy of the legal system that the RBI does not fulfil its mandate and continue merrily as if nothing happened. Let’s hope, better sense would prevail upon RBI now.