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SEBI asked to disclose details on grant of licence to MCX-SX

SebiSEBI has been asked by its Appellate Authority to disclose details through RTI on process related to grant of recognition to MCX Stock Exchange, as all such information may not be confidential any more.

Hearing an appeal against the market regulator’s denial of information sought through RTI (Right to Information) Act, the Appellate Authority has ruled the process relating to grant of recognition of MCX-SX in 2008 has been completed.

“In view of the same, I note that the decision-making process that contributed towards such grant of recognition cannot be argued as totally exempt from disclosure under the provisions of the RTI Act, though a part of it may qualify as such,” the Appellate Authority said in its order.

“In light of the above, what emerges is a requirement for striking a balance between maintaining transparency in respect of regulatory policy formulation by the regulator on the one hand and ensuring compliance with the principle of confidentiality… On the other hand,” the order said.

It, however, observed that any breach of the principle of confidentially may cause substantial harm to the competitive position of stock exchanges and therefore adversely impact the regulator’s ability to obtain necessary input from such entities in future.

“Accordingly, the respondent may examine the information relating to file notings of recognition of MCX in 2008, to determine which information is exempt from disclosure.

“Upon such determination, information exempt from disclosure may be severed from that part of information that may be identified as disclosable,” the Appellate Authority said.

It asked SEBI to re-consider the appellant’s application and provide an appropriate response to the appellant within 20 working days from the date of receipt of this order, which was passed on January 16.

In case SEBI decides to withhold certain information from disclosure, which in his opinion fall within the exemptions provided under the RTI Act, the regulator can pass an appropriate order, it added.

The appellant had filed an RTI application in November last year with SEBI, seeking copies of correspondence including file notings on approval to stock exchange licence granted to MCX for MCX-SX for currency futures in 2008.

The appellant had also sought a copy of letter of approval to MCX for MCX-SX.

However, SEBI in its response dated December 3, 2013, informed the appellant that the information pertaining to related file notings of recognition of MCX-SX in 2008 “was strategic in nature and contained confidential information”.

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