Information seeker can't be allowed to expand the scope of RTI enquiry at Appeal stage-IBBI
The Executive Director and First Appellate Authority (FAA) has dismissed an Appeal borne out of the application by the Appellant seeking information under section 6 of the Right to Information Act, 2005(Act). Herein, the information sought related to a Gold Savings Scheme offered by Nathella Sampathu Chetty Pvt Ltd in which more than 3500 depositors invested money on monthly basis and the entity filed a voluntary Insolvency.
The Liquidation process being in progress and the appellant being classified as other creditors, information was required by the Appellants with respect to the assets that were acquired by the Enforcement Directorate and the Resolution Professional for liquidation with regards to the corporate debtor.
The requested information was provided by the Respondent and the Appellant has submitted that he agrees with the information that the name of the corporate debtor is indeed M/s Nathella Sampath Jewellery Private Limited and the same is undergoing liquidation process.
But in this Appeal the Appellants have further asked for the following information-the participant(s) list who are in Committee of Creditors; Resolution plan that was approved; the priority of settlement to the Gold Savings Scheme chit fund creditors; Corporate debtor's books; Money received/borrowed; the subsequent investments/expenditure and List of Assets that are under Liquidation.
The Respondents have vehemently contended that the Information sought by the Appellant is not available and the required information is beyond the purview of Appeal as the same was not sought in the RTI application.
It has been observed in this order that the FAA has no power or authority under the Act to share any information with the appellant as requested for but can only deal with the Appeal under the provisions of the Act. The Respondent has informed the appellant that M/s Nathella Sampathu Chetty Pvt Ltd is not undergoing liquidation process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016; rather a corporate debtor with the name M/s Nathella Sampath Jewellery Private Limited (NSJPL) is undergoing liquidation process.
Moreover, the Appellant has also agreed to the information provided by the Respondent. Hence, the Appellant has no grievance against the information provided by the Respondent. Rather, the appellant is attempting to get fresh information in this Appeal, which is evident from his request in the appeal to the FAA. Thus, it has been observed that such a request in Appeal is not permissible under the Act, and will result in expansion of scope of the original RTI application.
By relying on the order of the Hon'ble CIC in the matter of Shri Harish Prasad Divedi Vs. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.,it has also been reiterated that an Information Seeker cannot be allowed to expand the scope of his RTI enquiry at appeal stage