Reasons for not auctioning the property seized by SEBI and the likely date of auction - PIO: Clarification is not information u/s 2(f) - CIC: Appellant is investor in the said company, therefore he has a right to know the status of these seized properties
O R D E R
1. The appellant filed an application under 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Mumbai. The appellant seeking information as under:-
Reasons for which the immovable properties (17 and 92) of GCA Marketing Private Limited seized were not auctioned?
The reason why a due date by which the investors would get back the money has not been notified. [Rough translation from original in Hindi]
2. The CPIO vide letter dated 24-09-2020 had denied the information as sought by the appellant u/s 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; of RTI Act, 2005. Being dissatisfied with the same, the appellant has filed first appeal dated 07-10-2020 and requested that the information should be provided to him. The FAA vide order dated 06-11- 2020 upheld CPIOs reply and disposed the appeal. He has filed a second appeal before the Commission on the ground that information sought has not been provided to him and requested to direct the respondent to provide complete and correct information.
3. The appellant attended the hearing through audio-call as the video conference could not be connected due to technical error. The respondent, Ms. Pramila Sridhar, DGM attended the hearing through video-conferencing
4. Both the parties submitted their written submissions and the same has been taken on record.
5. The appellant submitted that the desired information has not been provided to him by the respondent on his RTI application dated 07.09.2020.
6. The respondent submitted that vide their letter dated 24.09.2020, they have informed the appellant that his queries are in the nature of seeking clarification/ opinion, hence the same cannot be construed as ‘information’ as defined under section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005. Therefore, the relevant reply has already been provided to the appellant well within stipulated time-frame as per the provisions of the RTI Act.
7. The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and after perusal of records, observes that the appellant has sought information related to M/s GCA Marketing Pvt. Ltd and other queries related thereto. The appellant has contended that being the investor in the said company, he is entitled to receive the requested information. The respondent has contended that since the appellant is seeking reasons and not seeking any information which believes to be existing in material form, therefore they have denied the desired information to the appellant as per section 2 (f) of RTI Act, 2005. The Commission observes that seeking information in the form of clarifications is not maintainable under the purview of the RTI Act. But the appellant is the investor in the said company, therefore he has a right to know the status of these seized properties as exists in their records.
8. In view of the above, the Commission directs the respondent to provide a revised reply vide which relevant information w.r.t the delay in auction on these seized properties should be provided to the appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.
9. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
10. Copy of the decision be provided free of cost to the parties.
Neeraj Kumar Gupta
Citation: Mr. Ramakant Gupta v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in Second Appeal No. CIC/SEBIH/A/2020/693518, Date of decision: 04-07-2022