I have an important question for the lawyer-members of this forum. There is a new <acronym title="Central Information Commission">CIC</acronym> ruling(more elaborately discussed at: http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/1604-s...html#post15521) that raises an important general question of principle, and one that is going to be very critical in a lot of academic requests for data. Once regulatory bodies (like SEBI or RBI) obtain compliance data from the primary data providers (e.g. authorized dealers or whoever else is a "custodian" for FII transactions) isn't that data "owned" by the PA (and consequently by the People of India) and so should be available under the <acronym title="Right to Information">RTI</acronym>, subject only to exceptions valid u/s8?
If the answer is yes, why should the PA then have to go back and consult the thousands of custodians? As long as it protects the personal identity information of FIIs there should be no bar. At least one custodian (in a major bank) who I have spoken to agrees that the data belongs to SEBI, and it can do whatever it wants that is legal. (I don't know if he is a lawyer.)
If the answer is no, it provides another elephant-size loophole for PAs to escape through. If the PhD student who sought NREGS information from the Ministry of Rural Development (and finally got it) was told instead that the Ministry had to consult all of the districts and other entities that provided the raw data, she would never have got the data in this lifetime. In that instance the <acronym title="Central Information Commission">CIC</acronym> did NOT take this view. So for the <acronym title="Central Information Commission">CIC</acronym> to now possibly be on the threshold of dangling this loophole for PAs to seize is a little disturbing.
I am not a lawyer. I wonder if there is a lawyer on this forum who can throw light on case-law that can help us decide if the compliance data that PAs obtain "belong" to it or not. The <acronym title="Central Information Commission">CIC</acronym> consists as far as I can tell of fairly decent people, but the case overload means they cannot go even a millimeter outside the written record immediately before them. The <acronym title="Right to Information">RTI</acronym> Act confers some discovery powers on the <acronym title="Central Information Commission">CIC</acronym> but they don't have the resources for that provision to be meaningful. So whatever case-law and prior rulings we can muster can be critical. Dear lawyer-members, please help. Thank you. Best,