Correspondence by SEBI for acquiring power of intercepting the phone calls
The copies of the correspondence made by the SEBI with various government authorities for being appointed as an authorized enforcement agency for interception and monitoring as per the Indian Telegraph Act and for using call data records were desired under an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under section 8 (1)(e) and 8 (1)(h) stating that the desired information was held in a fiduciary capacity.
View of CIC
It was argued before the Central Information Commission (CIC) that the disclosure of the desired information could adversely affect the capacity of the SEBI to discharge its lawful duties for protecting the interests of the investors and the stock markets in India. The CIC did not accept the respondent’s arguments and directed the PIO to provide the photocopies of the entire correspondence on the subject to the appellant. The Commission observed that the information consists of correspondence between the SEBI and various government authorities on the SEBI's proposal to get powers under a certain law to intercept phone conversations and use such call records. Even if the objective of the SEBI in trying to secure such powers was to enable it to perform its duties better in the public interest, such powers can encroach on the privacy of individual citizens and, therefore, it is absolutely necessary that people know about it. Therefore, the Commission ruled that this information should be disclosed.
Citation: Shri Mustafa Kachwala v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in File No. CIC/SM/A/2011/901035
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/376
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission