Respondent guides the appellant for accessing the information which is available in the public domain.: Orders of AA under the RTI Act.

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. 4321 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with 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 15th of May, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 10th of June, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 10th of June, 2021, on her application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 16th of June, 2021. In her application, the appellate was seeking the following information:

  1. What is the role and duty of Office of Investor Assistance and Education in SEBI. For information kindly upload a copy and also provide official web link of SEBI where detailed information can be accessed on SEBI website.
  2. Under what laws and rules/under which laws and regulations are disposed of by the investors at SEBI’s Complaint Portal SCORES.
  3. Which department/official of SEBI receives the complaints of investors through SCORES portal after the investors register the complaints on SEBI’s complaint portal SCORES and how their/he/she/investors’ complaints are escalated to the specified points And also provide SEBI official web link where detailed information can also be seen on SEBI’s online website.
  4. An investor can send his/her complaint to the firm/which department of SEBI on the SCORES Portal of SEBI. Kindly mention here the names of those / all departments of SEBI who can receive complaints from investors through SCORES portal.
  5. In addition to the Scores Portal of SEBI, investors can access their grievances through official online portals other than Government of India and other departments other than SEBI, please refer to the names of those / that Government of India online portal through which investors can reach their grievances to different departments other than SEBI.
  6. If the stock broker after receiving the complaint on SEBI’s online complaint portal does not send/upload the relevant details and supporting documents to the investor within the stipulated time, then in that case what legal action is taken against the broker. 7. Why does SEBI send a notification of resubmitted and the second new registration number to investor?.

The respondent, in response to the query numbers 1,2,3,5,6 and7, observed that the queries are in the nature of seeking clarification/opinion and accordingly, cannot be construed as, “information”, as defined under section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005. In response to query number 4, the respondent informed that the appellant should refer to SCORES FAQs. The respondent also provided the weblink for accessing the same.

The appellant filed the appeal on the grounds of that the information was refused. The appellant, in her appeal, reiterated the query raised in her application.

For the queries, the appellate authority, Mr Anand Baiwar, made reference to the matter of Hon’ble CIC, in the matter of Vineet Pandey vs. CPIO, United India Insurance Company Limited (Judgment dated January 21, 2021), wherein similar observations were made by the Hon’ble CIC. Further, in the matter of Shri Shantaram Walavalkar vs. CPIO, SEBI (Decision dated January 17, 2013), it was noted that the Hon’ble CIC held: “… we would also like to observe that, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the citizen has the responsibility to specify the exact information he wants; he is not supposed to seek any opinion or comments or clarifications or interpretations from the CPIO…”. In view of the said observations, I do not find any deficiency in the response. In view of these observations, the appellate authority found no deficiency in the response.

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.

Click here to read the entire order.

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