Should SEBI access information from the private entity to provide it to the appellant under RTI?
The appellants filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) seeking information relating to their complaint against M/s Pantaloon Retail India Ltd. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that for some of the queries they did not have any information and nor did they collect such information from regulated entities in the normal course of their work. For rest of the queries he stated that they were in the nature of seeking clarification or opinion.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission observed that the SEBI can collect information from any regulated entity only for specific objectives as provided under the SEBI Act or any other law which empowers it to collect such information. The objectives outlined in the SEBI Act do not include accessing of information from a regulated entity for providing to any information seeker under the right to information. The SEBI cannot be compelled to access any such information from the private entity only to provide it to the appellant. The Commission also held that if any of the information is being held otherwise by the SEBI the same should be disclosed subject to the normal exemption provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Commission directed the PIO to revisit both the RTI applications and to find out if there is any information materially held by the SEBI. In case they have any of this information in their possession it should be provided to the appellant and if they do not have any such information in material form with them they should inform the appellant accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Dhan Raj Bagrecha & Chandu Bala Bagrecha v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000024 & 321
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/725
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