Defaulting industrialists list is already there buried on CIBIL site
November 17, 2011
The CIC through an order asked the RBI to publish list of top 100 defaulter industrialists. However, fearing backlash from judiciary, the central bank had handed over the job to publish list of defaulters against whom a suit has been filed to CIBIL Moneylife Digital Team
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to publish names and other details of top 100 industrialists of the country who have defaulted on loans from public sector banks. Chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi told the apex bank to post complete information as part of suo-motu disclosure before December end on RBI's website.
Interestingly the RBI, till few years ago, used to publish the list on its site. However, following allegations of circumvention in the judiciary process and legislative supervision, the central bank handed over the task to Credit Information Bureau of India (CIBIL). RBI, in 2004 authorised the credit bureau to publish list of defaulters of Rs1 crore and above and provide details of wilful defaulters of Rs25 lakh and above, against whom suits have been filed.
CIBIL has been publishing the list of defaulters (http://suit.cibil.com/) against whom a suit has been filed, however, for a common person it is a big task to dig out specific information. Also, there is more information available on the lenders than those of defaulters.
Last year, RBI issued a master circular with all its instructions and directions against defaulters. This was issued with a view of providing credit information of wilful defaulters to banks which would help the lenders in denying further loans.
Replying to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Panipat-based PP Kapoor, the central bank said making the information (about defaulters) public is in fiduciary capacity and disclosing it would adversely affect economic interest of the state. Mr Kapoor had sought to know from the RBI the details of default in loans taken from public sector banks by various industrialists besides list of defaulters, top 100 defaulters, name of the businessman, address, firm name, principal amount, and interest amount, date of default and date of availing loan.
The CIC Mr Gandhi, while admitting that the information is fiduciary in nature said that such exemption does not stand when there is a larger public interest in the disclosure. “This (disclosure) could lead to safeguarding the economic and moral interests of the nation. The commission is convinced that the benefits accruing to the economic and moral fibre of the country far outweigh any damage to the fiduciary relationship of bankers and their customers if the details of the top defaulters are disclosed,” he said.
The CIC also said that while the RBI is sharing the information with CIBIL, it is difficult to understand their reluctance to share the same information with citizens under the RTI.
“In fact, information about industrialists who are loan defaulters of the country may put pressure on such persons to pay their dues. This would have the impact of alerting citizens about those who are defaulting in payments and could also have some impact in shaming them,” Mr Gandhi said in his order.