The appointment of chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) U.K. Sinha has come under the Supreme Court (SC) scanner.
A bench presided over by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia on Friday observed that it will look into a public interest litigation (PIL) questioning an amendment to the rules to allow the finance minister to nominate two additional members to the selection committee and the subsequent appointment of Sinha as the head of the regulatory body.
With counsel for petitioners Gopal Subramanium attempting to impress upon the bench that it was an important matter requiring an intervention by the court, Justice Kapadia said, "Do you think that this bench is not aware of the importance of Sebi?... We will hear you at length."
Posting the matter for hearing on November 21, the court asked the Centre to file an affidavit in response to the petition within a week.
The petition has been filed by some persons from the same group who had earlier successfully challenged the appointment of P.J. Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC). Incidentally, a bench presided over by Chief Justice Kapadia had heard that matter, too.
Earlier, soon after the matter was called up for hearing, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati - who had defended the appointment of Thomas as well - submitted that the government was prepared to respond to the petition. Introducing the subject, Subramanium said that the petitioners had raised an important issue pertaining to the independence of Sebi, which was the lifeline of the market. He was, however, stopped midway by Justice Kapadia who had already read the petition.
Justice Kapadia requested Vahanvati and Subramanium to assist the court by continuing to appear on behalf of the Centre and petitioners, respectively. In the petition filed jointly by a group of persons led by Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy from the India Rejuvenation Initiative, it has been argued that nominees of the finance minister, as against the finance ministry, in the selection committee could not be justified as it gave unbridled power to the finance minister.
Though the petitioners had approached the court earlier also, the court had refused to entertain their petition in view of personal allegations against the finance minister. The court had, however, permitted them to file a fresh petition.
Subramanium, who had argued that Sebi could not be allowed to be under the control of the government, had agreed to delete the objectionable portions.
The petitioners have pointed out that the Sebi rules were amended before filling up the post of the chairman with Sinha.
Courtesy: Mail Today