Bombay HC defers proceedings in RIL case

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 20:10 hrs

The high court (HC) here has deferred proceedings on the petition filed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) against the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order regarding disclosure of information on the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) insider trading case till proceedings before the Delhi HC in the same matter are disposed.

The bench of judges S J Vazifdar and Mridula Bhatkar on Wednesday said they would not intervene till the Delhi HC decided on the matter. The matter will be kept in abeyance till the Delhi HC hears it on January 30.

In November, the CIC’s Satyananda Mishra had directed Sebi to disclose details of proceedings in the 2007 RIL insider trading case. RIL had challenged the CIC order in the Delhi HC, while Sebi had moved the Bombay HC. The CIC order was based on an appeal by Bangalore-based lawyer and Right to Information Act activist Arun Agrawal.

The Bombay HC decision is positive for RIL, which on January 14 had requested deferment of proceedings. RIL, against whom the information was sought, was made a party to the Sebi-CIC case. RIL had said the impugned order was passed by the CIC “as an officer and the said order is not passed by the commission as contemplated by the Act”.

Citing a Delhi HC decision on the powers of the commissioner to pass orders and hear appeals as an officer’ and not as a commission’, the company argued “the order is liable to quashed and set aside on that ground”.

RIL also contended that the investigation process of Sebi was still on and the regulator had not taken cognizance of any breach of law or regulations as held by the CIC.

The impugned order holds’ RIL “to be in breach of law and rules and regulations even without the investigating agency rendering any finding in respect thereof,” the company said last week in an affidavit.

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