RBI refuses to reveal reasons behind note ban

New Delhi, Dec 30: The Reserve Bank of India has refused to reveal the reasons for scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, besides declining to disclose the minutes of the RBI Board meeting when demonetisation was discussed on November 8, an RTI activist said.

The RBI said it was not bound to disclose such information given the issue of national security and related implications in it. 

The information was sought by an RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak.

"RBI rejected access to its board meeting minutes and recommendations made to the government and related file notings under Sections 8(1)(a), 7 (9) of the RTI Act," Nayak told IANS. 

Section 8(1)(a) has various grounds of sovereignty, integrity, economic interests, security interests, scientific interests and foreign relations.

While Section 7(9) was the ground for refusing to give information in the form in which it was asked for reasons that it should not result in destruction of records or excessive expenses towards compilation of the information. 

"The refusal to disclose the minutes of the RBI Board meeting where the decision was taken to recommend demonetisation is perplexing to say the very least," Nayak said.

While confidentiality prior to the making of the decision was understandable, continued secrecy after the decision was implemented was difficult to understand, Nayak added. 

This was especially when crores of Indians were facing difficulties due to the shortage of cash supply, he said.

Nayak had also filed a separate RTI with the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) of the Finance Ministry seeking copies of the cabinet note regarding the scrapping of the old currency notes. 

"I also sought to know whether the government had sought people's views on the issue prior to making the demonetisation decision," he said.

"Despite 40 days lapsing since the delivery of the RTI application to the DEA, it has not responded," he added.