Islamabad, September 05, 2019: Access to service records of bank employee cannot be denied to an employee by regarding them as ‘transactions’ under the State Bank of Pakistan Prudential Regulation M-3.
In his appeal filed with the commission, Mr. Abdul Samad Sarla maintained that he worked as Godom Chowkidar at National Bank of Pakistan for 18 years. During this period, he served at 7 different branches of the bank and that his service record was available with the bank. The bank did not provide his service record to him despite his efforts to have access to this record at different forums.
In its response, National Bank of Pakistan cited the State Bank of Pakistan Prudential Regulation M-3 regarding record retention and maintained that banks/DFIs are required to “maintain, for a minimum period of five years, all necessary records on transaction, both domestic and international”.
In its Order announced on September 04, 2019, Pakistan Information Commission held that the requested information pertains to service records of an employee. The requested information does not pertain to financial transactions carried out by a bank in normal course of its functions. Therefore, the commission is of the view that the State Bank of Pakistan Prudential Regulation M-3 pertaining to the retention of records is not applicable in the present case and ordered National Bank of Pakistan to provide the appellant his service records at the earliest but not later than 20 working days of the receipt of the Order.
The commission maintained that The National Archives Act, 1993 is applicable in matters pertaining to retention of records and copied the Ordered to Director General, National Archives for information and action.
The commission also held that enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and the exercise of fundamental human rights is dependent on our ability to exercise the right to information. Our constitutional right of access to justice is also dependent on the exercise of our constitutional right to information. Hence, any attempt to delay or deny access to service records of an employee is tantamount to delaying or denying the employee his or her right of access to justice in case an employee seeks to take any legal course against the employer based on service records.