The high court here on Tuesday deferred the hearing of the Securities and Exchange Board of India's (Sebi) appeal against a Central Information Commission (CIC) order, to Monday. Earlier this month, the CIC had directed the stock markets regulator to disclose information in the Reliance Industries insider trading case.
Based on an appeal filed by Bangalore-based lawyer Arun Agrawal, CIC Commissioner Satyananda Mishra had directed Sebi to reveal the identities of all the entities involved in short-selling of Reliance Petroleum shares in the derivatives segment in November 2007.
The bench comprising Judges A M Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar noted the Delhi High Court had issued notices to Sebi and Agrawal, based on a petition filed by RIL.
In the petition before the court, Sebi said quasi-judicial proceedings were in progress and disclosure of such information would impede the process of investigation already underway. It also argued the information sought was exempt under certain sub-sections of the RTI Act.
While the appellate authority had upheld this position, CIC, apex body under the Act, had said these exemptions did not apply in the present case.
Pointing out the matter had been unresolved for several years, pending a final decision, the Commission said in its November 6 order, "Several entities have been identified by Sebi who were involved in the insider trading/short-sale of shares of Reliance Petroleum in 2007. The details of these entities are still not in the public domain. After carefully considering the facts of the case and the submissions made before us, we are inclined to agree to the demand of the appellant that the disclosure of this information would serve a larger public interest."