17/12/2016 10:58 AM IST | Updated 17/12/2016 11:24 AM IST

The RBI Will Not Tell You What It Discussed Ahead Of Demonetisation

Over a month after the decision, it's still "sensitive information".

Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel.

The Reserve Bank of India has turned down a Right To Information query about the meetings leading up to demonetisation, saying that this would involve disclosing "sensitive information".

Rakesh Dubbudu of the data and transparency portal filed an RTI application with the RBI on November 16. He asked for a "list of meetings held with any department of Government of India or any other Government entity before the decision [on withdrawal of legal tender status of existing Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes] was arrived at".

In its reply, the RBI says: "The information relates to sensitive matters pertaining to discontinuation/ withdrawal of banknotes. The information is exempt from disclosure under section 8(1){a} of RTI Act, 2005." That section of the RTI Act relates to "information, 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".

Using the same exemption clause, the RBI also refused to give Dubbudu minutes of meetings held before the decision on demonetisation or copies of communication between the RBI and the Government of India about demonetisation.

"The decision is done. How can it be senisitive?" Dubbudu asked. "Does this mean it will expose their underpreparedeness?"