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 Bharat Dhanji Pindoria v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4324 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Mr Bharat Dhanji Pindoria had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 18th 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 7th of June, 2021. In his application, the appellant, dated May 18, 2021, inter alia, sought information as to why SEBI constituted committee under the Supreme Court for PACL. The appellant referred to his refund application and sought further information as to why the committee, in its mail dated February 26, 2021, did not specify the duration of months for refund and the name of the scrutinizing officer who had verified the policy. The appellant also queried why Retired Justice R M Lodha is not replying to the mails. In addition to the same, the appellant sought the reason for not releasing Rs. 6250.
The respondent, in response to the queries, observed that the information sought by the appellant, is not available with SEBI. However, the appellant was advised to contact the Justice (Retd.) R.M. Lodha Committee. The respondent had provided the link for accessing the details of the Committee, for further communication. The appellant was also advised to refer the public notice dated July 31, 2020 for status of refund. It was also informed that vide public notice dated October 15, 2020, the Committee had provided the investors a facility to view the status of/ deficiency in their claim applications and make good those deficiencies for investors/applicants with claims upto Rs. 7,000/-. Further, the respondent had provided links for accessing the said public notices.
Further, it is understood that the details of PACL – Status Report, FAQs, Press Releases and Public Notices etc. are available on SEBI website (www.sebi.gov.in) at : https://www.sebi.gov.in/PACL.html and details of property of PACL Ltd. are available at https://www.auctionpacl.com and www.sebipaclproperties.com. Further, there is a dedicated website with regard to PACL refund – https://sebicommitteepaclrefund.com.
For the query, 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 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.