HC disposes SEBI plea on CIC order in Reliance Petroleum case
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today disposed of a petition filed by capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) challenging an order of the Chief Information Commissioner directing disclosure of all details related to an alleged insider trading case involving Reliance Petroleum Ltd in 2007.
A division bench of Justices S J Vazifdar and Mridula Bhatkar disposed of SEBI's petition after it was informed that the Delhi High Court had on January 30 this year set aside the CIC order on a petition filed by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) against the disclosure.
"Since the Delhi High Court has already set aside the order which has been challenged in SEBI's petition also, nothing survives in this and hence can be disposed of," Justice Vazifdar said.
Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for RIL, told the court that the Delhi High Court, while hearing a petition filed by Reliance, set aside the disclosure order and remanded the matter back to the CIC.
"The CIC has been directed by the Delhi High Court to issue a fresh notice to Reliance Industries and other respondents involved and hear the matter afresh," Dwarkadas said.
Chief Information Commissioner Satyendra Mishra had on November 6 last year passed the disclosure order on an appeal filed by RTI activist Anil Agarwal.
The case relates to the merger of Reliance Petroleum with Reliance Industries Ltd and the short sale of shares in the former by entities related to the latter.
SEBI had approached the high court challenging the CIC order. In its petition, SEBI has said the fact that the order has been passed by Mishra and not the Central Information Commission (CIC) as a whole, makes it "bad in law" and therefore "null and void and of no effect". Apart from Mishra, the CIC has seven other members.