The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed its order of bringing stock exchanges within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur stayed the operation of a single bench order which had on April 15 held that stock exchanges are “quasi” governmental bodies which are bound to disclose information to the public under the transparency law.

The court passed the order on an appeal filed by National Stock Exchange (NSE) which contended that it cannot be forced to reveal information under the RTI Act as it is a company and the government has no control over it.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for NSE, contended that the single judge bench had erred in bringing it within the ambit of the RTI Act as it’s neither a government body nor financed by the government.

“I (NSE) am not financed by the government at all.

There is no question of any substantial finance by the government. There is zero financial control of government over its functioning,” Mr. Singhvi said.

Allowing public scrutiny of the functioning of stock exchanges, the single judge bench of the High Court had dismissed the plea of NSE and Jaipur Stock Exchange which submitted that they cannot be forced to reveal information to the public under the RTI Act as they are autonomous bodies incorporated under the Company Act and not controlled by the government.

Justice Sanjeev Khanna had dismissed the petition of the stock exchanges and upheld the decision of the Central Information Commission which had declared stock exchange as a public authority.

“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,” the Commission had said while directing the NSE to put in place a mechanism for the purpose

Keywords: NSERTIstock markets

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