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 Sarvesh Agnihotri v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4288 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2, 2 (f) and Section 8(1)(e) of the Right to Information Act.
The appellant, Mr Sarvesh Agnihotri had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 5th of May, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 21st of May, 2021 on his application, the appellate decide to file an appeal on the 1st of June, 2021. In his application on the 5th of May, 2021, the appellate was seeking the following information:
“Kindly provide how many transactions has been done in Bombay stock exchange and National stock exchange to buy and sell of equity shares of Bajaj finance Ltd & Bajaj fin corp Ltd of above Rs. 10000000/- (Rs. One crore) in last 10 years. Kindly provide date wise summary of all transactions of above one crore which can be done by any Individual or any company or proprietor or any NGO in last 10 years.”
The appellant had filed the appeal on the grounds that he had been denied the information that he was seeking. The appellant was seeking information regarding the entities who had bought/sold equity and future & option for amount above Rs. 10,00,000 or more along with their names (individuals/ NGOs/ Proprietor etc.) The respondent in response noted that the information that the appellant was seeking was exempted under Section 8 (1) (e) of the Right to information Act as received in SEBI in a fiduciary capacity from third parties (Stock Exchange and Depositories). 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, 2005.
Here, the appellate authority, Anand Baiwar noted that while disposing of a batch of Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 8396/2009, 16907/2006, 4788/2008, 9914/2009, 6085/2008, 7304/2007, 7930/2009 and 3607 of 2007, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in its Order dated November 30, 2009, held that the ‘person’ referred to in section 8(1)(e) of the Right to Information Act will include a public authority. It also held that: “In a fiduciary relationship, the principal emphasis is on trust, and reliance, the fiduciary’s superior power and corresponding dependence of the beneficiary on the fiduciary. It requires a dominant position, integrity and responsibility of the fiduciary to act in good faith and for the benefit of and to protect the beneficiary and not oneself”.
Appellate Authority also placed reliance on the case of Shri Ravi Ramaiya vs. SEBI (Decision dated September 11, 2015) which exempted the appellant from seeking information under section 8 (1) (e) of the Right to information act.
In view of the above-made observations, appellate authority saw no reason to interfere and intervene in the matter and the appeal was hence dismissed.