NEW DELHI: Why were Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes demonetised by the government? Fifty days after the government announced that these notes would cease to be legal tender, Reserve Bank of India feels that the reasons behind the sudden announcement cannot be made public. The monetary policy regulator also refused to give any details about the time it will take to replenish the currency notes.
“The query is in the nature of seeking a future date of an event which is not defined as information as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act,” RBI said in response to an RTI query. The Bankers’ Bank refused to disclose reasons behind the demonetisation of about 20 lakh crore of currency in the country citing Section 8(1)(a) of the Right to Information Act.
The section states, “Information, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.”
The RBI, however, did not give any reasons as to how the exemption would apply in the given case as the decision was already taken and there was no way that disclosure of the information would have fit in any of the reasons cited in section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.
“The clause of public interest would apply where exemption clause applies on the information sought by an applicant. In the present case, the information sought does not attract any exemption clause,” former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said. Law is clear that when a public authority rejects to disclose an information it must give clear reasons as to how the exemption clause would apply in the given case.