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 Amar Kakaria v CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai (Appeal No. 4375 of 2021) dealt with an issue in connection with Section 2 (f) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
The appellant, Mr Amar Kakaria had filed an application via RTI MIS Portal on the 26th of June, 2021 under the Right to Information Act, 2005. The respondent responded to the application by a letter on the 23rd of July, 2021, filed by the appellate. After receiving a letter from the respondent on 23rd of July, 2021, on his application, the appellate decided to file an appeal on the 29th of July, 2021.
In this appeal, the appellant has made a request for a personal hearing. In this regard, it was noted that as per the RTI Act, there is no such obligation on the part of the First Appellate Authority to dispose of a matter after giving hearing. Similar observations were made by the Hon’ble CIC in the matters of Mr. Milind Hemant Kotak, Mumbai vs. Canara Bank (Decision dated April 24, 2008) and Mr R.K Jain vs. UPSC (Decision dated March 10, 2014).
On perusal of the appeal, it appears that the appellant is not satisfied with the response provided by the respondent. The appellant, vide query number 1, sought the link to access the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for special leave to appeal (C) No. 3538/2021 and date of its uploading on SEBI portal.
The respondent, in response to the query number 1, informed that there is no obligation on SEBI to upload the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Further, Hon’ble Supreme Court is the original holder of the information. It was also informed that as a matter of practice, SEBI uploads important court orders on the website upon receipt of copy of the order. However, the respondent provided the link for accessing the order dated March 12, 2021 which is available on the SEBI website. The appellant, in his appeal, submitted that the date of uploading of the order on SEBI portal was not provided.
In this context, it was noted that the Hon’ble CIC in Shri Amiya Kanti Patnaik Vs. Central Excise Department (Order dated August 31, 2009), observed that “14. In my view, the holder of the information in cases where a set of information is held by more than one public authority and, only one of which holds it in original, only the public authority which holds the original of the information / document under a statute, rule, notification or instruction, etc., should be construed to hold that information within the meaning of Section 2(j) of the RTI Act…”