For seeking securities and guarantee for educational loan
The Central Information Commission (CIC) presided over by Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra in New Delhi has criticised the Indian Bank for demanding securities and guarantee to provide education loan of Rs.4 lakh to a Chennai student who is right now undergoing a Master's programme costing Rs.22.87 lakh at the University of Texas in the United States.
Passing orders in a second appeal filed and argued by S. Dorairaj, the Madurai based 70-year-old uncle of the student, under the Right to Information Act, 2005 the CIC said: “What this case brings out is that the authorities in the bank have failed to show adequate sensitivity in sanctioning educational loan to a student such as Pratap Ramanathan.
“Contrary to the public pronouncements of the Central Government that the procedure for availing educational loan has been simplified and that students can access such loans without having to furnish securities etcetera, Pratap Ramanathan was asked to furnish both securities and guarantee for the loan and was compelled in the process to seek a reduced loan (from Rs.7 lakh to Rs. 4 lakh) for which also he was asked to furnish securities and guarantee.
“It does not look that the bank took any remedial action at any stage even though the loan applicant and his uncle had been seeking several information from the bank ever since. This also needs to be looked into by some appropriate authority in the bank so that such a situation does not recur.
“We direct the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) to forward a copy of this order to the CMD (Chairman and Managing Director) of the bank for taking appropriate action on our directions. A compliance report must be sent to the CIC within two months from receiving this order.”
The CIC also found that there were several discrepancies in the information provided by the public information officer as well as the appellate authority (Executive Director) of the bank in response to the applications filed by the student as well as his uncle under the RTI Act.
“We verified some of the replies given by the CPIO at different times in response to the RTI requests made by the appellants and found that, indeed, the information provided by the CPIO had variations from time to time. This only shows that the CPIO concerned was not very careful in dealing with the request,” the CIC's order read.
Directing the CPIO to furnish all relevant records to Mr. Dorairaj within 15 days, the CIC went on to state: “This brings us to the question of some of the CPIOs providing incorrect information in their response to RTI requests on the subject in the past. During the hearing, we had specifically pointed out these discrepancies, as brought out by the appellants, to the respondents.
“They could not provide any satisfactory explanation since they did not have the relevant records with them at the time. This matter needs to be investigated in order to find out if the CPIO(s) concerned had provided the incorrect information knowingly.
Therefore, in exercise of the powers vested in the CIC in Section 20 (2) of the RTI Act, we direct the competent authority in the bank to enquire into this matter and to fix responsibility for the incorrect information sent to the appellant and to initiate appropriate disciplinary action if the lapse on the part of the CPIO(s) is found to be deliberate and wilful.”