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 Surbhi Gandhi v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4368 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Ms Surbhi Gandhi had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 14th of June, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 1st of July, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 1st of July, 2021, on his application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 19th of July, 2021.
The appellant, vide his application dated June 01, 2021, inter alia, sought the following information regarding all the broker defaults in the past 36 months:
- Reason for the default of the broker
- No. of clients/ investors with each broker
- No. of claims raised by the clients in NSE
- No. of claims processed by NSE
- No. of claims raised by the clients in BSE
- No. of claims processed by BSE
- Amount of money which is in litigation in SAT and Supreme Court
- Action taken by SEBI against brokers, clearing members and other agencies.
- Action taken against NSE for so many broker defaults.
The respondent, in response to query number 1, informed that the query is in the nature of seeking clarification/opinion and hence cannot be construed as ‘information’, as defined in Section 2(f) of RTI Act. In response to query numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, the respondent informed that the information sought is not maintained by SEBI in normal course of regulation of securities market. Hence the same is not available with SEBI.
In response to query number 7, the respondent informed that the query is vague and not specific and hence cannot be construed as “information” as defined in Section 2(f) of RTI Act. With respect to query numbers 8 and 9, the respondent informed that if any regulatory action is taken by SEBI, the same would be available in the public domain, on the SEBI website.
The appellant was also advised to refer to the website for updated information from time to time. The appellant has filed an appeal on the ground that access to the information requested was refused.