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. 4339 of 2021, Appeal No. 4340 of 2021, Appeal No. 4341 of 2021, Appeal No. 4342 of 2021, Appeal No. 4343 of 2021, Appeal No. 4344 of 2021, Appeal No. 4345 of 2021 and Appeal No. 4346 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with the Section 4 (1) (b) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Ms Geeta Khattar had filed 8 applications via RTI MIS Portal on the 13th of May, 2021 and filed 7 applications via RTI MIS Portal on the 16th of May, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a common letter on the 16th of June, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 16th of June, 2021, on her application, the appellate decided to file eight (8) appeals on the 16th of June, 2021 ((SEBIH/A/E/21/00242, SEBIH/A/E/21/00243, SEBIH/A/E/21/00244, SEBIH/A/E/21/00245, SEBIH/A/E/21/00246, SEBIH/A/E/21/00247, SEBIH/A/E/21/00248 and SEBIH/A/E/21/00249).
The appellant, vide his applications dated June 13, 2021, inter alia, sought copies of the SEBI Annual Report for the period 2015- 2020 and also sought the weblinks where the same can be seen on the SEBI website. The respondent, in response to the applications, informed that SEBI Annual Reports (2015-2020) are available on the SEBI website. The respondent also provided the link for accessing the said reports on the SEBI website. The appellant filed the appeal on the grounds of that the information provided was incomplete, misleading or false information.
For the queries, the appellate authority, Mr Anand Baiwar, made reference to the matter of Hon’ble CIC, in the matter of Registrar of Companies & Ors. Vs. Dharmendra Kumar Garg & Anr. and the Hon’ble CIC in Shri K Lall vs. Shri M K Bagri (CIC/AT/A/2007/00112, order dated April 12, 2007) held that if the relevant information is available in the public domain, the same cannot be said to be information held by the public authority and consequently there is no obligation to provide such information to an applicant under the RTI Act. Notwithstanding the same, it was noted that the respondent has adequately guided the appellant to access the relevant information on the SEBI website. 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.