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BEFORE THE APPELLATE AUTHORITY


(Under the Right to Information Act, 2005)
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE BOARD OF INDIA

Appeal No. 1997 of 2014

Renu Kumari : Appellant
Vs.
CPIO, SEBI, Mumbai : Respondent

ORDER

1. The appellant had filed an application dated June 19, 2014, under the Right to Information
Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as "RTI Act"). The respondent vide letter dated July 22,
2014, responded to the appellant. The appellant has filed this appeal dated August 30, 2014
(received at SEBI on September 9, 2014), against the said response. I have carefully considered
the application, the response and the appeal and find that the matter can be decided based on
the material available on record.

2. I note that alongwith this appeal, the appellant has filed an application seeking condonation of
delay of two days in filing the First Appeal. In this context, I note that under Section 19(1) of
the RTI Act, an aggrieved person may prefer the first appeal within 30 days from the receipt of
response of the respondent. I note that the impugned response had been dispatched to the
appellant, by Registered Post AD, vide respondent's letter dated July 22, 2014. I find that the
same was admittedly received by the appellant on July 28, 2014. I find that as per the
aforementioned provision of the RTI Act, the appellant should have filed the first appeal latest
by August 27, 2012 i.e. within 30 days from the receipt of response of the respondent. I find
that apart from the statement that it was on account of some unexpected and uncontrollable
events and circumstances, the appellant has not shown any sufficient cause to explain the delay
of three days in filing this appeal. However, since the condonation of delay in filing this appeal
does not prejudicially affect the respondent, I accordingly condone the same.

3. From the appeal, I note that the appellant is aggrieved by the respondent's response to her
application wherein she had sought information through the following queries, viz.

i. "The copies of all file notings on the action/decision taken and progress made with regard to registration of
Infomerics Valuation and Rating Pvt. Ltd. as Credit Rating Agency from 21.07.2011 upto till date
ii. The copies of all file notings on the action/decision taken and progress made with regard to the Letters
received by SEBI
a. Letter No. 236:LET:0153:2014 dated March 1, 2014;
b. Letter No. 236:LET:0154:2014 dated March 1, 2014;
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iii. The copies of all file notings on the action/decision taken and progress made with regard to the letter no.
236:LET:0168:2014 dated April 11, 2014 upto till date "

4. In this appeal, the appellant has inter alia submitted: "The appellant is not satisfied with the reply of the
(respondent)... The decision of the (respondent) while holding that the requested information is strategic in nature
and is of high commercial confidence is a blatant attempt to evade the duty of supplying the requested
information to the appellant. The requested information is specific and is in possession of the
(respondent)That stand taken by the (respondent) while holding that the requested information at this stage
is exempted under Sections 8(1)(h), 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) is not acceptable "

5. In his response, I note that the respondent while invoking the provisions of Sections 8(1)(h),
8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, informed the appellant that as related regulatory process
had not yet reached its conclusive end and that the related information was strategic in nature
and of high commercial confidence, disclosure of which may impact the strategic decision
making of the regulator and may also hamper the course of regulatory process and it may
expose the authority to competing pressures, which may also impede the decision making
process and compromise the objectivity of the decision making. The respondent also informed
the appellant that there was no larger public interest involved in disclosing such information
and furthermore, some of the documents were held by SEBI in fiduciary capacity.

6. Upon a consideration of the respondent's response, I find that disclosure of information prior
to completion of regulatory process would be premature to the process of investigation. An
investor/applicant may wait till such completion as the disclosure of any information may
expose the concerned authority to competing pressure and may hamper/compromise the
objectivity of decision-making by such authority. I, therefore, find that such information is
exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act. Further, I note that such
information may contain information in the nature of commercial confidence of the
concerned entity, the disclosure of which may affect its competitive position. In this context, I
also note that while disposing of a batch of Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 8396/2009, 16907/2006,
4788/2008, 9914/2009, 6085/2008, 7304/2007, 7930/2009 and 3607 of 2007, the Honble
High Court of Delhi in its Order dated November 30, 2009, held that the 'person' referred to in section
8(1)(e) of the RTI Act will include a public authority. It also held that: In a fiduciary relationship, the
principal emphasis is on trust, and reliance, the fiduciarys superior power and corresponding dependence of the
beneficiary on the fiduciary. It requires a dominant position, integrity and responsibility of the fiduciary to act in
good faith and for the benefit of and to protect the beneficiary and not oneself. I find that SEBI, being a
public authority under the RTI Act as well as the regulatory authority for the securities market,
gets various documents including business details, etc. and the information contained in those
documents are received in 'fiduciary relationship'. I, therefore, find that such information
obtained in fiduciary relationship by SEBI, which may contain information in the nature of
commercial confidence, etc. is exempted from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(d) and 8(1)(e) of
the RTI Act.
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7. In view of the above, I find no deficiency in the respondent's response to the appellant's
application. The appeal is accordingly dismissed.



Place: Mumbai S. RAMAN
Date: October 1, 2014 APPELLATE AUTHORITY
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE BOARD OF INDIA

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