"The UPI system was invented by the NPCI, and we took a licence from the RBI to operate it," said Dilip Asbe, CEO of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) at a hearing in the Central Information Commission. "But UPI competes with other mobile banking system, the customer has enough choices to make mobile transactions apart from UPI," he added. The Commission was hearing whether the NPCI — which operates BHIM, RuPay, and Aadhaar-based payments systems, among others — is a public authority, and whether it should fall under the ambit of the RTI Act, 2005. In December 2016, Neeraj Sharma had filed an RTI with the NPCI asking for details of its PIO (Public Information Officer) and Appellate Authority under the RTI Act. After Sharma did not receive any reply, he filed a complaint with the CIC in April 2017. After multiple hearings, the CIC said that the question of whether the NPCI is a public authority and whether the information sought by Sharma should be disclosed “involves a substantial question of law", CIC formed a division bench of Information Commissioners Neeraj Gupta and Suresh Chandra to hear the case. The last hearing on October 9 was meant to be the eight and final hearing, and a final judgment was expected. But seven weeks after the last hearing, the Commission called for a surprise hearing on November 27. Information Commissioner Chandra said that the assertion that NPCI was a monopoly and that the state has substantial finance and control…
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