HC asks SEBI to reconsider MCX-SX application within a month

The court ruling is considered as a moral victory for the MCX SX, promoted by Jignesh Shah of Financial Technologies India (FTIL), which all along has been maintaining that the regulator did not give a fair hearing to its application

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today asked the markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to reconsider MCX’s stock exchange application in one month and set aside its earlier order, reports PTI.

Justices DY Chandrachud and Anoop V Mohta passed the order today after hearing an appeal filed by MCX-SX in October 2010 against market regulator for rejecting its application to set up a new equities trading platform.

In the last hearing last November, the high court had reserved its judgment after the two parties—SEBI and MCX-SX—were unable to sort out the matter out-of-court.

The court ruling is considered as a moral victory for the MCX SX, promoted by Jignesh Shah of Financial Technologies India (FTIL), which all along has been maintaining that the regulator did not give a fair hearing to its application.

“The SEBI was, is, and will always remain a respected regulator. The MCX-SX stance was not against regulatory institution, but was for principles. We stand vindicated and always have full faith in our judiciary. We remain committed to growth and development of the country’s financial markets,” MCX-SX spokesperson said after the court order this morning.

The regulator SEBI could not be reached immediately for comments.

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Public Interest Exclusive
Citizens have a right to know irregularities in banks from RBI, rules CIC

Coming down heavily on the RBI, the central information commissioner under the RTI Act, said the idea put forward by the central bank that citizens are not mature enough to understand and will panic and harm their own interests, is repugnant to democracy

In what could possibly be a path breaking and a most important decision, Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi has ruled that citizens have a right to know about the functioning of banks including any regulatory lapses. “If there are irregularities in the functioning of a bank pursuant to which action has been taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), citizens certainly have a right to know about the same,” the CIC said in a recent order.

While allowing the appeal filed by Ashwini Dixit, the CIC asked the central bank to provide information regarding action taken by the RBI against scams/economic inconsistencies of United Mercantile Cooperative Bank (UMC Bank) along with the daily progress reports.

Mr Dixit, a resident from Kanpur, has sought information regarding the UMC Bank. He asked the RBI to provide...
1. Action taken by RBI against scams/economic inconsistencies of United Mercantile Cooperative Bank (the "Bank") along with daily progress reports.
2. Number of extension counters which can be opened by the Bank—as authorized by the RBI along with details of expenditure incurred in opening the same. Did the Bank adopt any tender procedure in relation to such counters? If yes, provide description of such tenders.

While the public information officer (PIO) from RBI admitted that it had done an inspection of the UMC Bank, it refused to share details of the report citing Sections 8(1)(a) and (e) of the RTI Act.

Not satisfied with the reply from the PIO, the appellant (Mr Dixit) approached the CPIO and the Information Commission. The Commission, said, while information sought under query 2 has already been provided, it will decide whether the information sought in query 1 is exempt from disclosure under Sections 8(1)(a) and (e) of the RTI Act.

The central bank submitted that the information sought is based on the scrutiny conducted by the RBI in exercise of its powers under Section 35(1A) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (the BR Act) and disclosure of inspection reports and the information submitted to the RBI or collected by the RBI in terms of Section 27 of the BR Act would be detrimental to the interest of depositors, public and banking policies.

However, the CIC said this provision appears inconsistent with the RTI Act. He said, “This (exemption sought under the BR Act) is prima facie inconsistent with the RTI Act, which mandates disclosure of information unless exempted under Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act. Therefore, in accordance with Section 22 of the RTI Act, the Commission holds that the provisions of the RTI Act shall override the provisions of the BR Act as regards furnishing information.”

The Commission also observed that the RBI has sought a stay on the orders issued by the CIC in several matters from the high courts and obtained an ex-parte interim stay in seven matters. The RBI said since the seven matters are related with whether inspection reports are protected from disclosure under Section 8 of the RTI Act, has not been conclusively determined and are pending before the courts, the multiplicity must be avoided to the extent possible as a matter of public policy.

After perusing the stay orders, the CIC found that all the matters cited by the RBI do not pertain to the specific issue of protection of inspection reports under Section 8 of the RTI Act and the central bank also had not provided evidence about the specific issue. “The Commission is a statutory authority set up specifically for the purpose of adjudicating on matters relating to the RTI Act. Given the above, the Commission must continue to discharge the duty placed upon it and authoritatively resolve issues arising under the RTI Act,” Mr Gandhi said.

In its submission, the RBI said that any misreading or out of context appreciation of the observations made in the inspection reports may be hazardous and lead to cascading effect on all other entities which may have exposure to such bank or share business relations with such bank. “The consequences may be irreversible and may result in dilution of confidence of the banking system. The adverse market reactions to such sensitive information may be phenomenal and may be of systemic risk to the economy, banks being the backbone of the economy,” it added.

The central bank also cited a ruling by Punjab & Haryana High Court in the RBI vs Central Government Industrial Tribunal that was used by the full bench of the CIC in the RR Patel vs RBI case. The CIC said that the full bench was of the that if RBI concluded that disclosure of inspection reports would adversely affect the economic interests of the state, the said information may be denied under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act and there is no observation that the Full Bench had come to this conclusion by itself.

Further the observations of the Punjab & Haryana HC in the RBI vs Central Government Industrial Tribunal were made much before (on 7 May 1958) the advent of the RTI Act and, therefore cannot be a guide for deciding on the applicability of exemptions under the RTI Act.

The RBI argued that it did not wish to share the information sought as some of it could “adversely affect the public interest and compromise financial sector stability”. The RBI was unwilling to share information which might bring out the “weaknesses in the financial institutions, systems and management of the inspected entities”. It further contended that “disclosure can erode public confidence not only in the inspected entity but in the banking sector as well. This could trigger a ripple effect on the deposits of not only one bank to which the information pertains but others, as well, due to a contagion effect”.

However, this argument did not find any favour from the CIC and instead attracted strictures. The CIC said, “It appears that the RBI argued that citizens were not mature enough to understand the implications of weaknesses, and the RBI was the best judge to decide what citizens should know. Citizens, who are considered mature enough to decide on who should govern them, who give legitimacy to the government and framed the Constitution of India must be given selective information about weaknesses exposed in inspection to ensure that they have faith in the banking sector. They must see the financial and banking sector only to the extent which RBI wishes.”

“It follows that if the RBI made mistakes, or there is corruption, citizens should suffer. This appears to go against the basic tenets of democracy and transparency. The idea that citizens are not mature enough to understand and will panic and harm their own interests, is repugnant to democracy. The case for transparency is that when citizens are watching and monitoring Institutions, they are forced to be on their toes, and will continuously improve,” Mr Gandhi noted.

Maintaining that the Commission is a quasi-judicial body responsible for appeals and complaints arising under the RTI Act, the CIC said, it cannot abdicate its responsibilities under the RTI Act to the RBI on the ground that the latter is an expert body.

Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act exempts—“information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic  interests of the state, relation with a foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence”.

Mr Gandhi, in his ruling said, “This bench is unable to understand how disclosing information about the action taken by the RBI against scams/economic inconsistencies of the UMC Bank along with the daily progress reports would affect the economic interests of the Indian nation. Financial stability of a nation cannot lie solely on public confidence in banks/financial institutions, and certainly not where banks/financial institutions holding public funds are involved in irregularities.

“This bench is not convinced with the argument that disclosure of information would lead to any harm to the economic interests of India; in fact it would help to improve the fundamental strength of the economic foundations of the country and safeguard against sudden disruptions, which could be caused if all the information was not available to public. This bench therefore cannot leave such a decision to the wisdom of RBI,” the CIC said.

In the order, Mr Gandhi said, “The Commission is of the opinion that the information sought in query 1 is not exempt under Sections 8(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the RTI Act, as claimed by the respondent. Even if it had been exempt, Section 8(2) of the RTI Act would mandate disclosure of the information sought. Citizens have a right to know about the functioning of banks including any regulatory lapses. If there are irregularities in the functioning of a bank pursuant to which action has been taken by RBI, as sought in query 1, citizens certainly have a right to know about the same. A larger public interest would be served by disclosing this information under Section 8(2) of the RTI Act. The nation’s interest would be better served through transparency and exposure of arbitrary, wrong, corrupt or illegal acts.”

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COMMENTS

SANJAY

5 years ago

U.P govt.must appoint administirator &issue CBCID inquiry in this scam & role of dy registar & asst. registar of kanpur

SANJAY

5 years ago

U.P govt.must appoint administirator &issue CBCID inquiry in this scam & role of dy registar & asst. registar of kanpur

shobhit

5 years ago

registrar of coop.societies of uttar pradesh siting in lucknow & he did not learn lesson from my youngest chief minister how to do act in fraud cases.Mr.CM is runing to deducting high labeled fraud but highly responsible RCS sliping in his offices.board of diretors & culprit secretary[CEO] still in operation& not dismissed by rcs while multi corores of fraud commited in this kanpur based united mercantile coop bank

shaili tandon

5 years ago

rbi deliberatly overlooked whole scam so that cvo should take appropriate action against their officers who conducted AFI w.e.f 1994 to 2011

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

This Commission judgement needs to be take forward in the cases of information of Pen Dist. Coop and MSCB where Administrators are appointed after Se.35 scrutiny.

tandonrakesh

5 years ago

rbi should file FIR in cbi as per master circular because loan fraud is of above 7.50 corores.entire matter is in knowledge of CVC

tandonrakesh

5 years ago

rbi should file FIR in cbi as per master circular because loan fraud is of above 7.50 corores.entire matter is in knowledge of CVC

mukesh

5 years ago

WILL RBI & MONEYLIFE TAKE UP THE ISSUE OF HDFC BANK NOT DOING THE RIGHT THING BY DOING FIFO METHOD INSTEAD OF LIFO IN ITS SWEP ACCOUNT CAUSING ENORMOUS LOSS TO ITS CUSTOMERS.

RBI NEEDS TO BE BOTEHRED ABOUT THIS.

pss

5 years ago

Everyone will recollect that it was IMMATURITY OF RBI that led to the BANKERS RECEIPT fiasco whereby harshad mehta duped many for thousands of crores and while many were held responsible THE MAIN CULPRIT RBI got off scotfree.

An ordinary banker is more mature than rbi to understand that rbi wants to shield fraudsters or what?Barring personal details of accounts such general info should be parted with by RBI without demur

REPLY

dayananda kamath k

In Reply to pss 5 years ago

i have actually written a letter to governor reserve bank of india informing in detail how rbi is the sponsorer of all maJOR financial scams in india. i have also brought to their notice and enforrcement directorate how third party gold imports were allowed in contravention of fema fera and banking rules import export policy by banks some 12 years back but no action

dayananda kamath k

5 years ago

i too have sought action taken report on irregularities brought to the notice of governor reserve bank of india in corporation bank. the public information officer gave some vague replies and did not give any reply to some of the quiries. then applied to the applete authority in rbi the then deputy governor of rbi sri rakeshmohan instead of providing the information raised objection for entertaining the quiry itself. the appellate authority is there to provide more information but in this case appellate authority has objected to the information given by the public information officer. which defeats the very purpose of having appellate authority. the irrgularities are of very serious nature where violation of fema and banking regulations and loss to the bank in crores of ruppes and also fraud.

Babubhai Vaghela Ahmedabad 9427608632

5 years ago

Shailesh Gandhi is Information Commissioner and not Chief Information Commissioner.
http://goo.gl/23I0A
He acts in an absolute high handed manner.
Being appointed illegally, he should be removed from the post by President of India.

Nagesh Kini FCA

5 years ago

Despite a good audit rating and great RBI inspection Reports, they cancel the licence of Pen Dist. Coop.Bank with a large deposit base in Mumbai.
Who will answer the stakeholders and depositors?
Have the bad advances been recalled and what about its assets?
Why not merge it with some bigger bank?

Sreepathi

5 years ago

When can we get money for the global trust bank shares ?

REPLY

dayananda kamath k

In Reply to Sreepathi 5 years ago

you may forget the money. in this case also rbi has committed biggest fraud on shareholders of global trust bank. oriental bank of commerce has prepared a scheme to pay at rs. 60 per share to acquire the bank some 6 months before the amamlgamation but rbi using its power as regulator gave the bank for free to oriental bank of commerce. sebi and nsdl have cacelled the shares in demat formats so nobody will be remembering when the shares are to be paid any residual value after 12 years. same has been done in the case of united western bank merged with idbi who are also eleigible to receive residue amount after 12 years. paerticulary if the share holder is deceased and changed hi address in these 12 years. and you do not have any record to prove that you held the shares.

Headline inflation rises to 6.95% in February

Experts said the rise in inflation, driven by prices of food articles, will keep the pressure on the government to remove supply side bottlenecks

New Delhi: Inflation rose to 6.95% in February because of sharp increase in food prices, especially vegetables and protein-based items, reports PTI.

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was 6.55% in January and was at 9.54% in February last year.

As per the official data released on Wednesday, food inflation was 6.07% in February against (-)0.52% in January.

Pulses turned expensive by 7.91% and vegetables by 1.52% during February. Prices of vegetables had declined by 43.13% in January.

Besides, eggs, meat and fish prices rose 20% during the month, from 18.63% in January.

Milk became expensive by 11.70%, while rice and cereals turned costlier by 1.53% and 1.71% respectively.

However, prices of potato and onion declined by 2.22% and 48.50% year-on-year in February.

Food articles have 14.3% share in the WPI basket.

Prices of manufactured items, which have a weight of around 65% in the WPI basket, went up by 5.75% year-on-year in February, as against 6.49% in the previous month.

The headline inflation numbers for December was revised upwards to 7.74%, from the provisional estimate of 7.47%.

Inflation in manufactured items has been high since February 2011, when it crossed the 6% mark.

Among manufactured items, iron grew dearer by 15.82% and edible oil prices rose by 7.57%, year-on- year. The cost of tobacco products moved up by 10.10% and basic metals became 10.44% expensive.

Inflation in overall primary articles was 6.28% in February on an annual basis. It was 2.25% in January.

Non-food primary articles, which include fibres and oilseeds, showed moderation to (-)2.56% in February.

In January, inflation was 0.55%.

Inflation in the fuel and power segment was 12.83% on an annual basis. The rate of price rise was 14.21% in the previous month.

Experts said the rise in inflation, driven by prices of food articles, will keep the pressure on the government to remove supply side bottlenecks.

Headline inflation was near double digit for most of 2010 and 2011. The apex bank hiked key policy rates 13 times, totalling 350 basis points between March 2010 and October 2011 to tame inflation.

Although RBI has resorted to injecting liquidity of Rs48,000 crore into the financial system, by reducing Cash Reserve Ratio for banks, it has also called for fiscal steps by the government to combat inflation.

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