Central Information Commission (CIC):While reiterating that personal information can be disclosed in the larger public interest, CIC directed Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to declare the assets and liabilities of its present Chairman. The order came upon an appeal filed by an RTI activist alleging that the said information was denied by SEBI claiming that it is personal information and that the same is provided to SEBI in fiduciary capacity. The term of the present Chairman of SEBI started in February 2011 and he has been appointed for a period of three years. The appellant contended that the information relating to the emoluments of the chairman were to be disclosed on the website of Sebi as per Section 4(1)(b)(x) of the RTI Act. The appellant also alleged that the present Chairman gave up a job of very high emoluments, to dilute the cases of some major defaulters in the capital market, hence, the details on assets and liabilities must be disclosed in larger public interest. After hearing both the parties, the Commission was convinced with the arguments of appellant for ordering disclosure of the information in larger public interest. CIC observed, “This commission recognises the perspective brought out on public interest in Section 8(2) of the Act in the course of the hearing. The appellant underlined the dimensions of public interest overriding the protected interest, i.e., the protection given to the ‘fiduciary’ and ‘personal information’ elements.” “Taking into account the arguments of the appellant, this appears to be fit case where the requested information should be disclosed in larger public interest,” the Commission added. (Arun Kumar Agrawal v. SEBI, 2014 SCC OnLine CIC 5983, decided on November 28, 2014)

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