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Order on Appeal No 1704-01/21 Arfan Ali Vs National Bank of Pakistan

In the instant appeal, the citizen has requested attested copy of policy / notification from 1996 to 2006 under which job is given to the deceased employees’ sons of National Bank of Pakistan so the applicant is filing this application.

The public body has provided the requested information to the appellant; therefore, the appeal is disposed of.

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Order on Appeal No 1504-12-2021 Mian Mohammad Altaf Vs National Bank of Pakistan

The appellant has requested the total number of the persons, their merit and the list of temporary godown staff who were regularized in the year 1991 and 1995 in the Cror Pakka Branch of National Bank of Pakistan and has inquired whether the desired number of vacant seats and employments were available in the National Bank. In the reply the bank has prayed for the dismissal of the appeal being not maintainable for the reasons detailed therein.

The President, National Bank of Pakistan is directed to provide the appellant all the requested information, forthwith, but in any case not later than seven days of the receipt of this order.

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Order on Appeal No 1700-01/22 Uzair Ahmad Vs National Bank of Pakistan

An Applicant is not required to establish locus standi for seeking information permissible under the Act 2017. Furthermore, the Act 2017 specifically requires public bodies not to ask from the Applicant purpose for seeking information under its Section 11 (5).
This commission maintains that the requested information permissible under the Act, 2017 cannot be denied on the grounds of lis alibi pendens.

This commission has maintained through its different Orders that pendency of the writ petition between the parties does not bar the provision of information under the Act unless specifically barred by the court itself, or, under the provisions of the Act. Therefore, the contention of the Respondent that “Section 16 (i) (v) of the RAI Act, 2017, inter alia, states that the information may be exempted if its disclosure is likely to prejudice the proceedings in a court or a tribunal” does not hold water.
Our ability to exercise our fundamental right of access to information enables us to attain our other fundamental rights such as gainful employment, right to life, right to clean drinking water, right to breathe in in clean air and right to healthcare services etc. In fact, the constitutional right of access to information helps citizens in the exercise of right of access to justice as well by having access to records/information to effectively present their cases in the court of law.
This commission maintains that the disclosure of the requested information about the staff which was recruited from 2006 to 2008, their roles and responsibilities, who assigned responsibilities to this staff and written order to this effect is public information under the Section 5 of the Act 2017.
The Respondent has also invoked Section 7 (g), privacy clause of the Act, 2017 for denying access to information to the Appellant.
This commission has observed that public officials have limited understanding about right to privacy when juxtaposed with the right of access to information held by public bodies. Privacy/personal information is understood to be, broadly speaking, information/data pertaining to access control (username and/or password), financial information such as bank account, credit card, debit card, or other payment instruments, and, passports, biometric data, and physical, psychological, and mental health conditions, medical records, and any detail pertaining to an individual’s ethnicity, religious beliefs etc.
The Act, 2017 envisages a situation wherein a document, which should be otherwise be made public but its parts may contain private information. In such an eventuality, the part containing private information can be severed from the document as mentioned in Section 16 (1) (i) of the Act, 2017.

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Order on Appeal No 1504-12-2021 Mian Mohammad Altaf Vs National Bank of Pakistan

The appellant has requested the total number of the persons, their merit and the list of temporary godown staff who was regularized in the year 1991 and 1995 in the Cror Pakka Branch of National Bank of Pakistan and has inquired whether the desired number of vacant seats and employments were available in the National Bank. In the reply the bank has prayed for the dismissal of the appeal being not maintainable for the reasons detailed therein.

This Commission allowed the appeal and directed the President, National Bank of Pakistan to provide the appellant all the requested information, forthwith, but in any case not later than seven days of the receipt of this order.

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Order on Appeal No. 964-03/21 Tariq Badar Vs National Bank of Pakistan

This commission holds that it is evident from the scheme and structure of the Act that it applies retrospectively, especially from Sections 5, 6 and Section 16 (1) (k) of the Act. The proviso to Section 5 stipulates that if the information or record requested pertains to a period earlier than the year 2008, the same shall be published within a “reasonable time”.

The Respondent has submitted that minutes of the meetings are exempted from disclosure. This commission has maintained in its different detailed judgements that even plain reading of Section 7 (a) and (b) suggests that ‘noting on the files’ and ‘minutes of the meeting’ are given qualified and not absolute exclusion from disclosure. Exclusion of ‘noting on the file’ and ‘minutes of the meetings’ is subject to a final decision. As such, ‘noting on the file’ and ‘minutes of the meeting’ cannot be shared during the deliberative process. The disclosure of ‘minutes of meetings’ and ‘noting on the file’ during the deliberative process is protected to ensure that outside influence does not create hindrances in the deliberative process. However, once a public body has taken a final decision, as is the case in the instant appeal, noting on the files and minutes of the meetings cannot be treated as excluded records. ‘Noting on the file’ and ‘minutes of the meeting’, once final decision has been taken, reflect the quality of input by different officers which become basis for the final decision and citizens of this country have the right to know about the quality of input in the decision-making.

Public interest dictates that the certified copies of the records on the file of an employee of the public body cannot be withheld on the grounds of privacy as it this information is critical to determine the level of transparency and fairness adopted in the recruitment process. Therefore, none of the provisions of this Act, including Section 7 (g) can be attracted to withhold the disclosure of the requested information.

 

The personal/private information means CNIC details, residential addresses, telephone numbers, bank accounts/financial details and health conditions. This commission maintains that if the public interest warrants the disclosure of a report, though some of its part may contain information which should be exempted from disclosure on reasonable grounds, those parts can be severed and the rest should be made public as required under Section 16 (1) (i)   of the Act.

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Order on Appeal No 822-01/21 Tariq Badar VsNational Bank of Pakistan

It is evident from the scheme and structure of the Act that it applies retrospectively, especially from Sections 5, 6 and Section 16 (1) (k) of the Act. The proviso to Section 5 stipulates that if the information or record requested pertains to a period earlier than the year 2008, the same shall be published within a “reasonable time”.

Appeal is dismissed to the extent of requested information in para 2 of this Order. However, the Respondent is directed to conduct an inquiry with respect to loss of service record and accordingly, present its report before this Commission within one month of the receipt of this Order.

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Order on Appeal No.1065-05-2021 Mughees Raza Malik Vs National Bank of Pakistan

The appellant requested the following record:

  1. “Certified copy of marks sheet with Marks given by interviewing committee/selection board to me and to Mr. Zamin Raza SVP, RH Bahalpur, Mr. Tariq Rashid SVP, RO Vehari & Mr. Sheryar Qaisrani SVP, RO Islamabad in the promotion Policies 2016 & 2017.
  2. Attested copy of decisions on my appeals on revision of Annual Performance Appraisals (APA) for the years 2015 & 2016 with given justification/comments by the committee/competent authority of not revising the same even after very strong recommendations of my 2 Group Chiefs as per Bank’s policy/rules.
  1. Attested copy of the respective GCs recommendations for upgradation of my APAs for the year 2015 & 2016.
  2. Attested copy of the respective GCs recommendations for upgradation of APAs of Mr. Tariq Rashid, Mr. Sheryar Qaisrani & Ms. Nadia Ahmer HO.
  3. Attested copies of approval/final APAs of Mr. Tariq Rashid, Mr. Sheryar Qaisrani & Ms. Nadia Ahmer HO which were upgraded at the time of promotion for the year 2014, 2015 & 2016.”

The Commission heard the arguments with the able assistance of the learned counsel on behalf of the bank. The written reply is also submitted before the Commission. The answering organization has raised the point of jurisdiction in the written reply submitted before the Commission. The organization has objected that the Commission lacks the jurisdiction but has not referred specifically the provision of the Act or any other law that oust the jurisdiction of this Commission in the appeal in hand against the bank.

The Chief Human Resources Officer/Group Chief, National Bank of Pakistan, Head Office, Karachi is directed to provide the appellant all the requested information.

 

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Order On Appeal No. 549-09/20 Muhammad Nauman Ul Haque Vs National Bank Of Pakistan

The appellant requested copy of a circular letter No. HRM & AG/DAB/2004/509 dated 12 August 2004 issued by National Bank of Pakistan along with the details of the list of NBP employees who availed this matriculation-based opportunity when it was offered in 2004/05 and list of NBP employees who benefitted from this matriculation-based opportunity after some sort of litigation.

The President, National Bank of Pakistan is directed to provide the information requested in with intimation to this office, at the earliest, but in any case, not later than 10 working days of the receipt of this Order.

The Respondent is also directed to designate Public Information Officer as required under Section 9 of the Act and upload its notification along with the name, designation and contact details on its website as required under Section 5 (1) (b) and (h) of the Act and submit compliance report to the commission within 10 working days of the receipt of this order.

 

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Order on Appeal No. 479-08/20 Mumtaz Ahmed Vs National Bank of Pakistan

The Appellant has desired his service record  as well as record of the other official of the bank. The appeal is not allowed for the reason that his personal record was made available by the bank to the appellant within six months of filing the application. Therefore, his application merit to be dismissed under section 13(b)(iii) whereas record pertaining to the other official cannot be shared under the principal of privacy, safeguarded u/s 7(g) and 16(c) of the Act.

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APPEAL No. 174-11-2019 Mian Mohammad Altaf Vs National Bank of Pakistan

National Bank of Pakistan is directed to provide the appellant his service record for the length of period he performed the duty as temporary go down keeper at kahror Pacca branch of the bank. The stance of the bank that the appellant filed petitions before the High Court and Federal Shariat Court for the regularization of his service is turned down by the Commission.


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