SEBI's counter affidavit clearly stated that more than 50% of the shares of NSE are owned by Government of India or Government companies, thus establishing the Exchange as a public authority in terms of RTI
Last week the Delhi High Court, while ruling that the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is bound to reveal information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, said the Exchange falls under the purview of 'public authority'. Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) was found to have played a significant role in the case by filing a counter affidavit.
The NSE tried to maintain that since it is an autonomous body and not controlled by the government, it cannot be forced to disclose information under the RTI Act.
However, SEBI's counter affidavit clearly stated that Government of India or Government companies own more than 50% of the shares of NSE. The Exchange then tried to dispute the counter affidavit as 'contention and not factual statement'.
In the ruling, Justice Sanjiv Khanna said that since the aspect of factual dispute is examined by the Central Information Commissioner (CIC), he was not going into this aspect.
In 2007, the CIC had held that stock exchanges are quasi-governmental bodies which are bound to disclose information to the public under the RTI Act.
"It is held that the petitioner is a public authority as it is an authority or institution of self-government constituted or established by notification or order issued by the appropriate Government. It is also held that the petitioner is controlled by the appropriate Government. The writ petition WPC No.4748/2007 accordingly has no merit and is dismissed," the order said.
While directing the Exchange to put in place a mechanism for providing information under the RTI Act, the High Court said, “A stock exchange being a quasi-governmental body working under the statute and exercising statutory powers has to be held to be a public authority under the Act.
With this order, the stock exchange will now fall under the ambit of the RTI Act. As such, it will be forced to disclose information demanded by the public on various matters, subject to certain exceptions.
Justice Khanna, in the ruling, also said that the idea, purpose and objective behind the beneficial legislation is to make information available to citizens in respect of organizations, which take benefit and advantage by utilizing substantial public funds. This ensures that the citizens can ask for and get information and know how public funds are being used, and there is accountability, transparency and openness, the order said.
However, the embattled exchange may not take the order lying down and may soon appeal to the Supreme Court of India. Earlier, when Moneylife contacted an NSE official for their future plan of action, we were told that an immediate response would not be available.
(Read more http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4823.html)
P&G is contending that a new TV commercial by HUL that offers Rs1 crore prize money to consumers who prove any other detergent to be superior to Rin, has elements similar to the ad it pulled out last month after a court order
The makers of Tide detergent have once again dragged Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), which makes Rin detergent, to court, alleging that the rival was still playing dirty, reports PTI.
Global fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) giant Procter & Gamble (P&G), which makes Tide, is contending that a new TV commercial by HUL that offers Rs1 crore prize money to consumers who prove any other detergent to be superior to Rin has elements similar to the ad it pulled out last month after a court order.
The Calcutta High Court had last month restrained HUL from telecasting the Rin ad, as it appeared to be mocking Tide.
P&G's latest petition, filed before the Calcutta High Court last week, seeks to hold HUL in contempt of court. It will come up for hearing on 21st April.
HUL has, however, claimed that its new ad 'Rin safedi ki challenge' did not violate the court order. "We respect the court order and we are in full compliance with the same. As the matter is sub-judice, we cannot comment on this," an HUL spokesperson said. "We have filed a petition for contempt of court against HUL based on their new Rin commercial showcasing several similar elements as aired in their earlier disparaging advertisement which was ordered to be taken off air by the Calcutta High Court in an ad interim proceeding," a P&G spokesperson said.
Hyderabad-based Jeevanseva Infotech is actively engaged in chain-marketing a personal accident policy in Amravati, Mumbai and Pune
Even as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) is busy fighting a turf war with market regulator SEBI, pyramid schemes are being peddled by corporate agents of various insurance companies. One such company is Jeevanseva Infotech India Pvt Ltd, a corporate agent of Reliance General Insurance, though the company’s website makes no mention of Reliance products.
Jeevanseva, a direct marketing firm based in Hyderabad, is actively engaged in multi-level marketing (MLM) of Reliance personal accident policy. The group regularly conducts sales-pitch meetings in some pockets of Amravati, Mumbai and Pune. Direct marketing firms are expanding their product offerings to include insurance products which offer high commissions. Jeevanseva has a host of other products on offer, including Goat’s milk tablets.
To become a member of the organisation, a person has to pay Rs1,550 as policy premium. If the member ropes in one client, he gets a commission of Rs150; if he ropes in two members, he gets a commission of Rs300, and so on. The policyholder has to renew his membership with Jeevanseva by paying Rs550 annually. The policy provides an accident cover of Rs3 lakh. The new member has to join under an existing ‘associate’ (read ‘policyholder cum agent’) of Jeevanseva. The existing member stands to benefit by recruiting new members. Thus, the chain keeps expanding.
Multi-level marketing is not permitted by the insurance regulator. An email query sent to Reliance General Insurance officials remained unanswered till the time of writing. Such MLM schemes clearly violate Section 42 of the Insurance Act, 1938, which prohibits appointing sub-agents and passing on commissions/kickbacks. Also, IRDA certification is mandatory for selling insurance products.
According to IRDA regulations, an insurance agent has to undergo a 100-hour training course to get a licence for the first time. When Moneylife contacted a distributor of Jeevanseva, he insisted that no training is required to sell insurance policies. Jeevanseva officials did not reply to our queries.
So, are insurance companies like Reliance aware of such activities by their registered corporate agents and deliberately turning a blind eye?
“It’s not that the insurance companies are not aware of it, but one can’t prove that. The agent can do anything. The agent’s actions are not ratified by the company. The issue has to be taken to IRDA because the company will wash its hands off the matter,” said a financial planner.
Jeevanseva is just one instance of MLM marketing. There are many such cases of pyramid schemes devised to sell insurance policies. Moneylife had earlier reported two cases of insurance agents resorting to chain-marketing schemes
(Read here http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4613.html and here http://www.moneylife.in/article/8/4821.html).