The Delhi High Court today stayed its order on bringing the stock exchanges within the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
A division bench headed by acting chief justice Madan B Lokur stayed the order of a single judge bench issued on 15 April, which held that stock exchanges are akin to 'quasi' governmental bodies and therefore are bound under the law to disclose information to the public in the interests of transparency.
The order was passed by the court following which the National Stock Exchange (NSE) filed an appeal contending that it could not be forced to disclose information under the Act since it was not under government control.
Contending that the stock exchanges were not government bodies and also that the government did not provide any financial assistance to them, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the NSE, argued that the single judge bench had erred in bringing it within the RTI Act.
"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," Singhvi said.
The single judge bench of the High Court while rejecting the pleas of the NSE and Jaipur Stock Exchange seeking relief from disclosure under the Act as they were not under government control ordered a public scrutiny of the stock exchanges' operations and upheld the Central Information Commission's decision declaring stock exchanges as 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 evolve a mechanism for the purpose.