The appellate authority under the RTI (Right to Information) Act of the Securities and Exchange Board of India comprising of Mr. Anand Baiwar adjudicated in the matter of Vignesh Reddy Angadi v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4291 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act.
The appellant, Mr Vignesh Reddy Angadi had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 27th of May, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 2nd June, 2021 on his application, the appellate deicide to file an appeal on the 3rd of June, 2021. In his application on the 27th of May, 2021, the appellate was seeking the following information:
“1. Deficiency Letter in the AM No. NSE………….2/ISC/ARB filed by Vignesh Reddy Angadi against Kotak Securities Ltd needs payment proof. Please find below the receipt for bank transfer for the arbitration fees from Kotak Mahindra Bank. Transfer amount : Rs.17300.00 Beneficiary name : National Stock Exchange of India Limited Bank name : HDFC BANK LTD Account number : XXX0017 Date and Time : 26 May 2021 Reference number : 1…….917 Remark : NA The National Stock Exchange Limited Hyderabad had requested for Arbitration Fees for the above mentioned request in the subject and the payment for the same needs to be acknowledged.”
The respondent said in response to this application that this particular query was not specific and vague and the same cannot be construed as seeking information. ‘Information’ has been defined under section 2(f) of the Right to Information Act. In addition, the respondent gave an advice to the appellant asking him to lodge if he has any grievance on the SCORES portal, also to refer to the FAQs on the SEBI website and further also provided the appellant toll free numbers that were launched by SEBI to help facilitate replies to multiple queries that the genral public may have on the matters on securities market.
The appellant authority while quoting Shri S. C. Sharma vs. CPIO, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Decision dated August 30, 2012), the Hon’ble CIC held: “Since the Appellant had not clearly stated what exact information he wanted, the CPIO could not have provided any specific information to him. We would like to advise the Appellant that he might like to specify the exact information he wants from the SEBI and prefer a fresh application before the CPIO.” In view of these observations, he found that the respondent is not obliged to provide a response where the information sought is neither clear nor specific and hence, no interference may be warranted at this stage.
The appeal was dismissed by the appellate authority on grounds that the respondent adequately guided the appellant by providing the information with respect to lodging his grievance on the SCORES portal.