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 Mohan Kumar Gupta v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4299 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Mr Mohan Kumar Gupta had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 17th of May, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 7th of June, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 7th of June, 2021 on his application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 9th of June, 2021. In his application, the appellate was seeking the information of trading document like agreement copy of 1. Guru Trade 2. OE Trade 3. Olymp Trade 4. Export Option 5. V option 6. Capital Com 7. T trade etc.
The respondent, in response to the query, informed that the same is incomplete and vague. Accordingly, the same cannot be construed as “information”, as defined under section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005.
The appellant filed the appeal on the grounds of that the information provided was incomplete, misleading or false information. The appellant, in his appeal, queried whether these companies are registered through SEBI or not.
The appellant authority noted that the same is vague. Further, it is difficult to ascertain what specific information has been sought by the appellant.
For the queries, the appellate authority, Mr Anand Baiwar, made reference to the matter of Hon’ble CIC, in the matter of 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, the appellant authority found that the respondent is not obliged to provide a response where the information sought is vague and not specific.
Mr. Baiwar noted that the appellant, in his appeal, queried whether these companies are registered through SEBI or not and found that the request for this particular information was raised by the appellant for the first time in this appeal. As held by the Hon’ble CIC in Harish Prasad Divedi vs. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (decided on January 28, 2014), an information seeker cannot be allowed to expand the scope of his RTI enquiry at appeal stage.
In view of the above-made observations, the Appeal was accordingly dismissed since the appellate authority found that there was no need to interfere with the decision of the respondent.