Information regarding the daily transaction details & index movement for 8 years & predictions of share market by NSE etc. was sought - Respondents: collecting information from stock exchanges would require a lot of man power - CIC: denial upheld
1.The appellant, Shri Mrigesh Kumar Manubhai Thakkar, submitted RTI application dated 16 October 2012 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Securities and Exchange Board of India, Mumbai; seeking information regarding predictions of share market by NSE etc., through a total of 5points.
2. Vide reply 9 November 2012, CPIO denied the information on the ground that the requested information was not related to the normal functioning of SEBI, therefore it was not available with them. Not satisfied by the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred an appeal dated 10 December 2012 to the first appellate authority (FAA) alleging that he had been wrongly denied the requested information by the CPIO concerned. Vide order dated 24 December 2012, FAA upheld the CPIO’s decision and also explained the same.
3. Not satisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard today. The respondents stated that the appellant wanted the daily transaction details and index movement (upward and downward trends) from 1.1.2004 to 16.10.2012. The respondents submitted that the SEBI was the overall regulator, this information is not supplied to them by the various exchanges. The information, if it is to be collected would require a lot of man power as it would be very voluminous since it has been asked for 8 years. He added that the Apex Court, in Aditya Bandopadhyay case, ordered that the RTI Act ensures that information that is available is provided.
5. The respondents reiterated that this information is not held by SEBI and, therefore, the SEBI is not in a position to provide it.
6. The Commission in its previous order in the case K. L. Wadhwa vs. SEBI dated 24.8.2011 observed that
“5. No doubt, information as defined in Section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; includes that information which a public authority can access from other bodies by exercising powers vested in it under any law for the time being in force. Here, the issue is not whether the public authority, the SEBI in the present case, has the power to access the information from the broker firm or not; the real issue is whether it has the power to do so for the purpose of providing it to the information seeker under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Section 11 of the SEBI Act empowers the SEBI to undertake measures including accessing information from other bodies to fulfill the three objectives listed in the Subsection 1 of that Section, namely, to protect the interests of the investors, to promote the development of and to regulate the securities market. In other words, all the power that the SEBI has to access information is for the sole purpose of fulfilling these three objectives. Providing the information to any information seeker under the Right to Information (RTI) Act is not one of the listed purposes for which the SEBI has been empowered to undertake several measures including accessing of information. Therefore, it would not be right to contend that the SEBI must exercise its powers, given to it under the SEBI Act for strictly limited purposes and then to provide that information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. If the SEBI were required to use the information accessed by them under the SEBI Act for any other purpose, a specific provision should have been made in that Act itself. Since no such provision exists, we cannot compel the SEBI to access the desired information from whosoever holds it solely for the purpose of sharing it with the information seeker.”
Further, the Hon’ble Apex Court in the Aditya Bandhpadhyaya case had observed that
37. Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritizing 'information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
7. In view of the above, the Commission upholds the submissions of the respondents. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Mrigesh Kumar Manubhai Thakkar v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in
Appeal: No. CIC/SM/A/2013/000702/MP