The Supreme Court on Friday directed market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), to give Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) access to certain documents which have been relied upon by it in its probe into a share acquisition matter. In a major relief to RIL, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said the market regulator has a “duty to act fairly” and asked it to share relied upon documents to the private firm, which claimed that these papers exonerate it. “The SEBI is a regulator and has a duty to act fairly. It is not to circumvent the rule of law and they have to show fairness. We allow this and direct SEBI to furnish the document sought by RIL,” the CJI said while allowing the appeal of RIL.
The verdict came on an appeal of the RIL which had moved the top court against the judgement of the Bombay High Court. The high court had rejected the RIL’s plea to access documents relied upon by the market regulator. SEBI alleged irregularities in its own share acquisition by RIL during 1994 to 2000 and the case had arisen following a complaint by one S Gurumurthy to the market regulator.