Securities and Exchange Board of India has said that information on the status and other details of its ongoing probes can not be revealed under the Right To Information Act.
An RTI applicant had sought information 'as to how much more time it would take for Sebi to complete the investigation in the matter of Cal Refineries' and at which stage the probe was, but the regulator declined to share any details saying that it was not a fit case for RTI Act.
The applicant then approached Sebi's Appellate Authority, which has also dismissed the appeal in an order dated July 31, saying: "There is no need to interfere with the decision of the respondent."
The appellant had filed the RTI application on June 1, to which the market regulator Sebi's Central Public Information Officer replied on June 29 that the request was in the nature of seeking time frame to complete a task and hence it is not the 'information' as per the RTI Act.
The RTI applicant had requested for "information as to how much more time it would take for Sebi to complete the investigation in the matter of Cal Refineries that is banned by Sebi vide order dated September 21, 2011."
He also wanted to know whether the investigation in the matter 'is in the faster or in the final stage.'
On September 21, 2011, the regulator had banned Cals Refineries and six other companies from issuing equity shares or any other instrument convertible into equity shares or alter their capital structure in any manner.
The applicant on July 5 approached the Authority which said the appeal has not raised any grounds for challenging Sebi's response, and rather the applicant has raised some new queries.
These queries included the reasons for delay in final outcome of Sebi's probe in Cal Refineries and whether the regulator was awaiting any data from any overseas and Indian regulators, Indian regulators or the company itself.
The Authority said that the details sought in the RTI application, as well as in the appeal, are inquisitions in the nature of seeking explanation and clarifications.
"The appellant has sought to know the time that Sebi may take to reach a final conclusion in the matter and the reasons for time being taken by Sebi to complete the investigation and has raised further inquisitions as stated above," the Appellate Authority said.
It further ruled that these queries cannot be construed as 'information' available with Sebi and it cannot be compelled to provide the time frame for investigation and final or future outcome in the matter.