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SC Allows Reliance Plea Against SEBI for Access to Documents, Says Latter Has to be Fair & Abide by Rule of Law

1 min read

Debangana Ray

Published on August 5 2022 at 21:05 IST

The Supreme Court allowed a plea by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) seeking access to certain documents that were relied upon by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in a probe by the market regulator into a share acquisition matter.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices JK Maheshwari and Hima Kohli held that SEBI has a duty to act in a fair manner and refrain from circumventing rule of law.

The Court held that, “SEBI as a regulator has a duty to act fairly. It is not to circumvent rule of law and has to show fairness. We allow this petition and direct SEBI to furnish the document sought by RIL.”

RIL had moved the top court after after the Bombay High Court had rejected its plea to access certain documents that it believed would clear the air on all allegations against the company.

SEBI had alleged irregularities when RIL acquired its own shares between 1994-2000.

The case arose from a complaint by S. Gurumurthy with the SEBI in 2002 alleging irregularities.

SEBI had moved City Civil and Sessions Court in 2020 seeking prosecution of RIL. The court had, however, rejected the plea citing delay in acting on the 2002 complaint.

Plea against that order was filed before the Bombay High Court when RIL also approached the Bombay High Court seeking three documents relied upon by SEBI.

That plea was rejected leading to the present appeal before the top court.