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The respondent is not expected to obtain any information from the stock exchanges for the sole purpose of providing the same to an applicant under the RTI Act. : Appellate Authority, SEBI.

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 Geeta Khattar v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4306 and Appeal No. 4307 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with the Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The appellant, Ms Geeta Khattar had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 14th of April, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 7th of May, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 7th of May, 2021, on her application, the appellate decided to file two similar appeals on the 14th of June, 2021 ((SEBIH/A/E/21/00210 and SEBIH/A/E/21/00211).

The appellant had filed the appeal on the grounds that she was not satisfied with the response provided to her query number 3 of her application. The appellant, vide query number 3 of her application dated April 14, 2021, inter alia, sought copy of the letter ref. no. KS/COMPLIANCE/NSE/CORR/…..1 which was requested under the email dated 17th of July, 2020. The appellant, in her appeals, requested that the requested information which is available with NSE, may be sought and provided to her.

The respondent in response to the query number 3, informed that the query is in the nature of seeking clarification/opinion and accordingly, cannot be construed as seeking “information’ as defined under section 2(f) of the RTI Act. However, the respondent informed that the letter no. KS/COMPLIANCE/NSE/CORR/…..1 does not seem to be issued by SEBI.

For the query no. 3, the appellate authority, Mr Anand Baiwar, made reference to the matter of Hon’ble CIC, in the matter of Sh. Pattipati Rama Murthy vs. CPIO, SEBI (Decision dated July 8, 2013), held: “… if it (SEBI) does not have any such information in its possession, the CPIO cannot obviously invent one for the benefit of the Appellant. There is simply no information to be given.” In view of these observations, he found that the information sought by the appellant was not available with SEBI and therefore, the respondent cannot be obliged to provide such non–available information.

Further, the appellant, in her appeals, submitted that the requested data is available with NSE and has requested SEBI to seek information from them. Mr Baiwar found that the respondent is only expected to see that the information to be furnished to an applicant is the one which exists with the public authority when it receives an application under the RTI Act. The respondent is not expected to obtain any information from the stock exchanges for the sole purpose of providing the same to an applicant under the RTI Act.

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.

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