T. Takano vs Securities and Exchange Board of India

T. Takano vs Securities and Exchange Board of India

Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal Nos. 487-488 of 2022
T. Takano … Appellant
Versus
Securities and Exchange Board of India & Anr. … Respondents
2
J U D G M E N T
Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, J
A. Factual Background ..........................................................................................3
B Submissions of Counsel...................................................................................10
C. Analysis..........................................................................................................16
C.1 Regulatory Framework of PFUTP Regulations ..........................................16
C.2 Duty to Disclose Investigative Material ......................................................23
C.3. Exceptions to the Duty to Disclose............................................................43
D. Conclusion ......................................................................................................47
PART A
3
A. Factual Background
1 By a judgment dated 29 September 2020, a Division Bench of the
Bombay High Court dismissed the petition instituted by the appellant under
Article 226 of the Constitution for challenging a show cause notice which was
issued by the first respondent1 alleging a violation of the provisions of the SEBI
(Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) Regulations 20032
. A
petition seeking a review of the judgment of the Division Bench was disposed of
by an order dated 22 October 2020. The appellant moved a Special Leave
Petition against the judgment in the writ petition and the order in review. The
principal issue is whether an investigation report under Regulation 9 of the
PFUTP Regulations must be disclosed to the person to whom a notice to show
cause is issued.
2 The appellant was employed as the Managing Director3 and Chief
Executive Officer4 in Ricoh India Limited5
, a public listed company, for the
financial years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15, till 31 March 2015. In 2016, BSR
& Co. were appointed as statutory auditors of the Company. The auditors raised
a suspicion regarding the veracity of the financial statements of the Company for
the quarters that ended on June 30, 2015 and September 30, 2015. The Audit
Committee of the Company appointed Price Water House Coopers Private
Limited6 to carry out a forensic audit. PWC submitted a preliminary audit report
on 20 April 2016. The Company addressed a communication to the first
 1 “SEBI” or the “Board” 2 “PFUTP Regulations” 3 “MD” 4 “CEO” 5 “Company”
6 “PWC”
PART A
4
respondent on the same day stating that the financial statements for those
quarters did not reflect the true affairs of the Company and requested the first
respondent to carry out an independent investigation on possible violations of the
provisions of the PFUTP Regulations. The final report submitted by PWC was
forwarded by the Company to the first respondent on 29 November 2016.
3 The first respondent initiated an investigation. During the course of the
investigation, summons was issued to Manoj Kumar (then MD & CEO for the
financial year of 2015-16), Arvind Singhal (then Chief Financial Officer) and Anil
Saini (then Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer). The Company in
its letter dated 8 June 2016 submitted that it suspected Manoj Kumar, Arvind
Singhal and Anil Saini for their involvement in misstating the financial affairs. The
first respondent in its ex parte interim order–cum–show cause notice prima facie
found two others, including the appellant, responsible for facilitating the
misstatements of the financial position. With regard to the role of the appellant, it
was noted:
“On examination of the Organization Structure of Ricoh
for past years, it is noted that T. Takano was the MD &
CEO of the Company till March 31, 2015. It is also noted
that the mandate for PwC investigation was restricted to
the half-year ended September 30, 2015 and not
extended to all the years when the misstatements
occurred. If Manoj Kumar, who was MD & CEO in FY
2015-16 was held responsible for the fraud, it is only
logical that T. Takano as the previous MD & CEO (during
whose tenure the fraud actually started) was also
responsible for the misstatements. It appears that by
restricting the investigation period mandated to PwC, the
Company intended to restrain PwC from examining the
transactions of the previous years and thereby ring-fence
the earlier MD & CEO, T. Takano.”
PART A
5
4 Based on the investigation, it was noted that the financial misstatements
commenced from 2012-13 and the Company suffered a loss due to, inter alia,
transfers to third parties, write-offs and a sale made to Fourth Dimension
Solutions Limited7 without inventory. It was further noted that the share price of
the Company had gone up due to the misstatements. Hence, it was observed
that the appellant, along with five others, has prima facie violated the provisions
of Section 12A(a), 12(A)(b) and 12A(c) of the Securities and Exchange Board of
India Act 19928 read with Regulations 3(b), 3(c), 3(d), 4(1), 4(2)(e), 4(2)(k) and
4(2)(r) of the PFUTP Regulations. Hence, the first respondent issued the
following directions under Sections 11(1), 11(4) and 11B of the SEBI Act and
Regulation 11 of the PFUTP Regulations:
(i) The appellant and the other five key managerial persons were
restrained from accessing the securities market or buying, selling or
otherwise dealing in the securities market ;
(ii) An independent audit firm was appointed for conducting a detailed
forensic audit of the books of accounts of the company from the
financial year 2012-13 ;
(iii) The independent audit firm was called upon to submit a report to the
first respondent within three months from the date of appointment; and
(iv) A show cause notice for directions under Sections 11, 11(4) and 11 (B)
of the SEBI Act, including directions for restraining/prohibiting him from
accessing the securities market and buying, selling or otherwise
dealing in securities in any manner.
 7 “FDSL”
8 “SEBI Act”
PART A
6
5 By his letters dated 6 June 2018 and 28 June 2018, and at a personal
hearing on June 11, 2018 the appellant submitted that:
(i) He had no knowledge of the purported transactions and/or the
misstatements in the books of account;
(ii) The inclusion of his name in the interim order-cum-show cause notice
was speculative, based on the premise that since the MD and CEO of
financial year 2015-16 has been held prima facie responsible, the
appellant who was the MD and CEO during the previous year must also
be held responsible; and
(iii) The financial team was solely responsible for preparing financial
statements. These statements were then examined by the statutory
auditors of the company. The version subsequently prepared was the
final version of the financial statement. Therefore, he had no knowledge
of the intricacies of the financial statements.
6 By an order dated 16 August 20189
, the first respondent confirmed the
directions issued in the ex parte interim order dated 12 February 2018. The order
notes that though the facts indicate large-scale irregularities in business
transactions, the time span of the irregularities and the exact role of the noticees
are not fully ascertained, and therefore, “it would be premature to give credence
to the submissions of the individual noticees”. It was also observed that “a clear
picture regarding the financial affairs of the company and the role of various
noticees in the alleged fraud is yet to emerge pending such investigation.” The
time for submission of the forensic report by the first respondent was extended to
 9 “Confirmatory order”
PART A
7
30 September 2018. SEBI appointed Pipara & Co. LLP on 20 February 2019 to
conduct a forensic audit of the books of account of the Company. The report of
the forensic auditors was submitted on 25 October 2019.
7 The appellant challenged the confirmatory order before the Securities
Appellate Tribunal10, Mumbai. The appeals were allowed and the order against
the appellant was quashed on 29 January 2020 on the grounds that:
(i) The confirmatory order is based on a suspicion about the role of the
appellant;
(ii) The submissions of the appellant were not dealt with appropriately;
(iii) Since the company is in liquidation, the appellant is not in a position to
influence decisions; and
(iv) The appellant cannot be prevented from dealing in the securities
market when the appellant is held to be vicariously liable due to the
position he held as MD/CEO.
The tribunal, however, directed that the first respondent is at liberty to issue a
fresh show cause notice if the evidence against the appellant is made available
through the forensic report or through the first respondent’s investigation.
8 A fresh show cause notice was issued to the appellant on 19 March 2020
under the provisions of Sections 11(1), 11(4), 11(4A), 11B(1) and 11B(2) and
15HA of the SEBI Act and Section 12A(2) read with Section 23H of the Securities
Contracts (Regulation) Act 195611 based on the forensic audit report and
 10 “Tribunal” 11 “SCRA”
PART A
8
investigation conducted by the first respondent. With regard to the appellant, it
was alleged that :
“… Mr. T. Takano, during whose tenure the business
transactions with FDSL started by virtue of his position as
MD & CEO of Ricoh during FY 2012-13 to FY 2014-15,
was actively involved in committing the fraud and had
knowingly restricted the mandate given to PwC to six
month so as to succeed in hiding his role in the
commission of fraud of publishing untrue financial
statements of Ricoh which resulted in misleading the
investors about the financial performance of the company
and thereby resulted in inducement to trades in the scrip.
The said acts of the Noticee no. 2 are alleged to be in
violation of regulations 3 (b), (c), (d), 4(1) and 4(2)(e), (f),
(k) and (r) of SEBI (PFUTP) Regulations, 2003 and
clause 49(V) read with 41(Il)(a) of the erstwhile Listing
Agreement.”
9 The appellant claims that he received the show cause notice by email on
4 August 2020. The appellant responded to the show cause notice on 6 August
2020 stating that though he had received the forensic audit report submitted by
Pipara & Co. LLP, he had not received the report of the investigation conducted
by SEBI. The appellant sought an opportunity to inspect the following records:
“[…] including but not limited to all material on which
reliance was placed Pipara & Co. LLP for the purpose of
preparing the forensic audit report, all material on which
reliance has been placed while issuing the Show Cause
Notice, and on which reliance is intended to be placed
while making any adjudication on the Show Cause Notice
(“material”).”
10 By its communication dated 13 August 2020, the first respondent stated
that the investigation report is an ‘internal document’ which cannot be shared.
The appellant was provided time until 9 August 2020 to inspect the other
documents. The first respondent enclosed soft copies of the annexures to the
forensic report and called upon the appellant to submit a reply. The appellant
PART A
9
reiterated the demand to inspect the investigation report. By an email dated 4
September 2020, the appellant was informed that the investigation report of SEBI
was not relied on to issue the show cause notice and hence, would not be
provided.
11 The appellant filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court
challenging the show cause notice which was issued on 19 March 2020. In the
alternative, inspection of all documents relied on to issue the show cause notice
was sought. The appellant submitted before the High Court that to non-disclosure
of all relevant documents relied on to issue the show cause notice violated the
principles of natural justice.
12 By its judgment dated 29 September 2020, the High Court held that the
investigation report prepared under Regulation 9 of PFUTP Regulations is solely
for internal purposes. In concluding that the investigation report need not be
furnished while issuing a show cause notice, the High Court has relied on the
decision of this Court in Natwar Singh v. Director of Enforcement12. In sum and
substance, the High court has held that the report does not form the basis of the
show cause notice and therefore need not be disclosed. The review petition
challenging the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court was rejected.
 12 (2010) 13 SCC 255
PART B
10
B. Submissions of Counsel
13 Mr Ashim Sood, learned Counsel appearing for the appellant made the
following submissions:
(i) Regulation 10 has two synchronous requirements – (i) consideration of
the investigation report and satisfaction on such consideration that
there is a violation of the PFUTP Regulations; and (ii) a hearing. The
purpose of the investigation report is to adjudicate whether there has
been a contravention of the Regulations. There is no intermediate stage
between the consideration of the report and the adjudication of liability.
Both stages are synchronous, making the investigation report the
primary material on which the adjudicator relies upon under the PFUTP
Regulations;
(ii) The High Court erred in holding that the investigation report is a
preliminary report and is to be used for “internal administrative
discipline”. The investigation report is not a preliminary document and is
compiled at the end of a thorough and exhaustive investigation. The
proviso to Regulation 9, provides for an “interim report” making it clear
that the investigation report is not a preliminary document;
(iii) The investigation report is not a document to be used for internal
deliberations, which is a stage that is crossed at Regulation 5. The
investigation report is to be used for adjudication of liability in terms of
Regulation 10;
(iv) The High Court erred in observing that the investigation report was not
used against the appellant and does not form the basis of the show
PART B
11
cause notice. The show cause notice dated 19 March 2020 contains
several references to the investigation carried out by the first
respondent. These allegations differ from the ones listed in an earlier
show cause notice, which was issued to the appellant and was set
aside by SAT on 29 January 2020 in Appeal No 427 of 2018. Further,
the duty to disclose is not contingent on whether the respondent relies
on a document; rather the duty is invoked when a request made for a
document is found to be reasonable and relevant for the defence to be
mounted by the noticee;
(v) Regulation 10 mandates that the entire investigation report be
disclosed to the noticee. This mandate can only be subject to certain
well-recognized exceptions. Such exceptions must be invoked with the
utmost circumspection by SEBI and for reasons that are recorded in
writing;
(vi) The decision of this Court in Natwar Singh (supra) supports the
principle that material relied upon in a quasi-judicial proceeding must
be disclosed to the person to whose prejudice such material may be
used for taking adverse action;
(vii) In Khudiram Das v. State of West Bengal13, this Court held that once
a statute prescribes reliance on certain material, such material should
be disclosed to the opposite party. This principle has been followed in
multiple contexts, including proceedings under the Companies Act 1956
and Special Courts Act 1979;
 13 (1975) 2 SCC 81
PART B
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(viii) If the entire investigation report is not provided, it would be difficult to
come up with a metric for determining which parts of the report are
relevant to the noticee;
(ix) Permitting the respondent to selectively disclose portions of the
investigation report carries with it the risk of conferring unfettered
discretion upon the first respondent. The first respondent will attempt to
disclose the least possible information in an adversarial proceeding,
undermining the mandate of Regulation 10;
(x) Without having access to the entirety of the investigation report, the
noticee will be incapable of effectively challenging the decision of the
first respondent. It will result in the adoption of an opaque process
where SAT or the High Courts would receive the report in sealed
covers and make ex parte determinations of whether the redactions
made by the first respondent are justified, impacting the transparency of
the judicial process;
(xi) Regulation 9 imposes a qualitative requirement in relation to the
investigation. If the investigation report is not disclosed, there is no
incentive for the investigator to meet that qualitative requirement. There
would be no way, therefore, to determine whether the investigation
report was properly compiled and whether the investigation was
conducted in a regular manner, in accordance with the standards of
what a proper investigation entails;
(xii) Redaction of the investigation report can be carried out as an exception
for legitimate reasons. To reduce arbitrariness, the redactions should
PART B
13
be supported by written reasons indicating the necessity of the
measure. The reasons should have a certain degree of specificity;
(xiii) The exceptional situations in which redactions can be made are known
to law and include business secrets, personal data and third-party
confidential information; and
(xiv) Laws in the United States and European Union also adopt the default
position that the noticee shall have access to the file subject to certain
exceptions relating to business secrets and personal data, amongst
others.
14 On behalf of the respondents, Mr CU Singh, learned senior counsel, made
the following submissions:
(i) The appellant has raised the argument that the investigation has been
solely conducted under the PFUTP Regulations and the failure to
disclose the investigation report amounts to a violation of Regulations 9
and 10. This is incorrect. The proceedings have been initiated under
the provisions of the SEBI Act and the SCRA as well for a violation of
the provisions of the PFUTP Regulations and the Listing Agreement.
The SEBI Act and the SCRA are wider in scope than the PFUTP
Regulations. Additionally, Regulation 11 of PFUTP Regulations
specifically provides that the actions or directions may be issued
without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-sections (1), (2),
(2A) and (3) of Sections 11 and 11B of the SEBI Act;
(ii) SEBI conducts an investigation under Section 11C of the SEBI Act,
where, based on the findings arrived at during the investigation,
PART B
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allegations are levelled in the show cause notice. Together with the
show cause notice all the documents that have been relied upon by the
investigator are provided to the noticee. In the present, case all the
relevant documents have been provided to the noticee, including the
report of Pipara and Co. which formed the basis of the show cause
notice. The appellant is not entitled to any other documents;
(iii) The quasi-judicial proceedings that are initiated by SEBI proceed on the
basis of the allegations that are mentioned in the show cause notice
and the documents that are annexed to it. No other material, document
or investigation is considered for adjudication by the competent
authority. Orders are passed only after an opportunity to file a reply is
given and a personal hearing is provided to comply with the principles
of natural justice;
(iv) Regulation 9 of PFUTP Regulations requires the Investigating Authority
to submit the report, after completion of the investigation, to the
appointing authority. However, the provision does not require the
furnishing of the report to the noticee. The report is only in the nature of
an inter-departmental communication between officers investigating the
matter and the authority who decides if any enforcement action is to be
taken against an entity based on any prima facie grounds. It is not a
piece of evidence but is rather a culmination of documents that the
investigating authority relies upon or comes across during the
investigation;
PART B
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(v) This Court in several similar cases have held that internal investigation
reports are not required to be shared. (Krishna Chandra Tandon v.
Union of India14 and Chandrama Tewari v. Union of India15);
(vi) The investigations conducted by SEBI are highly sensitive given the
volatile nature of the market. Disclosure of such information may
adversely affect the market. Further, the investigation reports also
contain the personal information of other stakeholders. They also
include information relating to the commercial and business interests of
third-parties. Sharing such information with the noticee will raise
concerns regarding the privacy of third-parties and also affect their
competitive position in the market;
(vii) Clauses (d), (e) and (h) of sub-Section (1) of Section 8 of the Right to
Information Act 200516 also exempt disclosure of – (i) “information
including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property,
the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third
party”; (ii) “information available in fiduciary relationship”; and (iii)
“information which would impede the process of investigation”; and
(viii) The US Securities and Exchange Commission conducts its
investigations on a confidential basis to maximize their effectiveness
and protect the privacy of those involved. UK Financial Conduct
Authority also does not share confidential information even when the
same is requested under the Freedom of Information Act stating that a
clear confidentiality restriction encourages free flow of information and if
 14 AIR 1974 SC 1589 15 (1988) 1 SCR 1102 16 “RTI Act”
PART C
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confidential information were to be made public, sources would be less
willing to give information. Article 54 of Directive 2004/39 of the EU
Parliament provides a legal framework for securities market and
mandates that information of such nature ought not to be shared. Thus,
the refusal of SEBI to furnish the investigation report is in line with
established global practices.
C. Analysis
C.1 Regulatory Framework of PFUTP Regulations
15 The PFUTP Regulations have been notified by SEBI in exercise of powers
conferred by Section 30 of the SEBI Act. Regulation 2(c) defines the expression
‘fraud’ in the following terms:
“2(c) “fraud” includes any act, expression, omission or
concealment committed whether in a deceitful manner or
not by a person or by any other person with his
connivance or by his agent while dealing in securities in
order to induce another person or his agent to deal in
securities, whether or not there is any wrongful gain or
avoidance of any loss, and shall also include—
(1) a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or
concealment of material fact in order that another person
may act to his detriment;
(2) a suggestion as to a fact which is not true by one who
does not believe it to be true;
(3) an active concealment of a fact by a person having
knowledge or belief of the fact;
(4) a promise made without any intention of performing it;
(5) a representation made in a reckless and careless
manner whether it be true or false;
(6) any such act or omission as any other law specifically
declares to be fraudulent,
(7) deceptive behaviour by a person depriving another of
informed consent or full participation,
(8) a false statement made without reasonable ground for
believing it to be true.
PART C
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(9) the act of an issuer of securities giving out
misinformation that affects the market price of the
security, resulting in investors being effectively misled
even though they did not rely on the statement itself or
anything derived from it other than the market price.
And “fraudulent” shall be construed accordingly; Nothing
contained in this clause shall apply to any general
comments made in good faith in regard to—
(a) the economic policy of the government
(b) the economic situation of the country
(c) trends in the securities market;
(d) any other matter of a like nature
whether such comments are made in public or in private;”
16 Chapter II of the Regulations relates to the prohibition of fraudulent and
unfair trade practices relating to the securities market. This includes Regulation 3
which deals with “Prohibition of certain dealings in securities” and Regulation 4
which deals with “Prohibition of manipulative, fraudulent and unfair trade
practices”. Chapter II pertains to the power of the Board to order an
investigation. Regulation 5 is extracted below:
“5. Where the Board, the Chairman, the member or the
Executive Director (hereinafter referred to as “appointing
authority”) has reasonable ground to believe that—
(a) the transactions in securities are being dealt with in a
manner detrimental to the investors or the securities
market in violation of these regulations;
(b) any intermediary or any person associated with the
securities market has violated any of the provisions of the
Act or the rules or the regulations, it may, at any time by
order in writing, direct any officer not below the rank of
Division Chief (hereinafter referred to as the “Investigating
Authority”) specified in the order to investigate the affairs
of such intermediary or persons associated with the
securities market or any other person and to report
thereon to the Board in the manner provided in section
11C of the Act.”
PART C
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Regulation 6 enunciates the powers of the investigating authority.17 The powers
of the investigating authority include:
(i) Calling for information or records;
(ii) Undertaking inspection of books, registers and documents or records of
any public company;
(iii) Requiring the disclosure of information, documents or records by any
person associated with the securities market or by an intermediary;
(iv) Reservation and custody of books, registers, documents and records
for a stipulated period;
(v) Examination of and recording the statement of directors, partners,
members or employees; and
(vi) Examination on oath.
 176. Without prejudice to the powers conferred under the Act, the Investigating Authority shall have the following
powers for the conduct of investigation, namely :
(1) to call for information or records from any person specified in section 11(2)(i) of the Act;
(2) to undertake inspection of any book, or register, or other document or record of any listed public company or a
public company (not being intermediaries referred to in section 12 of the Act) which intends to get its securities
listed on any recognized stock exchange where the Investigating Authority has reasonable grounds to believe
that such company has been conducting in violation of these regulations;
(3) to require any intermediary or any person associated with securities market in any manner to furnish such
information to, or produce such books, or registers, or other documents, or record before him or any person
authorized by him in this behalf as he may consider necessary if the furnishing of such information or the
production of such books, or registers, or other documents, or record is relevant or necessary for the purposes of
the investigation;
(4) to keep in his custody any books, registers, other documents and record produced under this regulation for a
maximum period of one month which may be extended upto a period of six months by the Board :
Provided that the Investigating Authority may call for any book, register, other document or record if the same is
needed again :
Provided further that if the person on whose behalf the books, registers, other documents and record are
produced requires certified copies of the books, registers, other documents and record produced before the
Investigating Authority, he shall give certified copies of such books, registers, other documents and record to
such person or on whose behalf the books, registers, other documents and record were produced;
(5) to examine orally and to record the statement of the person concerned or any director, partner, member or
employee of such person and to take notes of such oral examination to be used as an evidence against such
person :
Provided that the said notes shall be read over to, or by, and signed by, the person so examined;
(6) to examine on oath any manager, managing director, officer or other employee of any intermediary or any
person associated with securities market in any manner in relation to the affairs of his business and may
administer an oath accordingly and for that purpose may require any of those persons to appear before him
personally.
PART C
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17 Under Regulation 718, the investigating authority may exercise certain
specified powers after obtaining the specific approval of the Chairman or
Members of the Board. Regulation 819 imposes a duty to cooperate upon every
person in respect of whom an investigation has been ordered under Regulation 7.
18 Regulation 9 upon which the controversy in the present case turns is
extracted below:
“9. The Investigating Authority shall, on completion of
investigation, after taking into account all relevant facts,
submit a report to the appointing authority:
 187. The Investigating Authority may, after obtaining specific approval from the Chairman or Member also
exercise all or any of the following powers, namely :
(a) to call for information and record from any bank or any other authority or board or corporation established or
constituted by or under any Central, State or Provincial Act in respect of any transaction in securities which are
under investigation;
(b) to make an application to the Judicial Magistrate of the first class having jurisdiction for an order for the
seizure of any books, registers, other documents and record, if in the course of investigation, the Investigating
Authority has reasonable ground to believe that such books, registers, other documents and record of, or relating
to, any intermediary or any person associated with securities market in any manner may be destroyed, mutilated,
altered, falsified or secreted;
(c) to keep in his custody the books, registers, other documents and record seized under these regulations for
such period not later than the conclusion of the investigation as he considers necessary and thereafter to return
the same to the person, the company or the other body corporate, or, as the case may be, to the managing
director or the manager or any other person from whose custody or power they were seized :
Provided that the Investigating Authority may, before returning such books, registers, other documents and
record as aforesaid, place identification marks on them or any part thereof;
(d) save as otherwise provided in this regulation, every search or seizure made under this regulation shall be
carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) relating to
searches or seizures made under that Code.
198. (1) It shall be the duty of every person in respect of whom an investigation has been ordered under
regulation 7—
(a) to produce to the Investigating Authority or any person authorized by him such books, accounts and other
documents and record in his custody or control and to furnish such statements and information as the
Investigating Authority or the person so authorized by him may reasonably require for the purposes of the
investigation;
(b) to appear before the Investigating Authority personally when required to do so by him under regulation 6 or
regulation 7 to answer any question which is put to him by the Investigating Authority in pursuance of the powers
under the said regulations.
(2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sections 235 to 241 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), it shall be
the duty of every manager, managing director, officer and other employee of the company and every intermediary
referred to in section 12 of the Act or every person associated with the securities market to preserve and to
produce to the Investigating Authority or any person authorized by him in this behalf, all the books, registers,
other documents and record of, or relating to, the company or, as the case may be, of or relating to, the
intermediary or such person, which are in their custody or power.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-regulations (1) and (2), such person shall—
(a) allow the Investigating Authority to have access to the premises occupied by such person at all reasonable
times for the purpose of investigation;
(b) extend to the Investigating Authority reasonable facilities for examining any books, accounts and other
documents in his custody or control (whether kept manually or in computer or in any other form) reasonably
required for the purposes of the investigation;
(c) provide to such Investigating Authority any such books, accounts and records which, in the opinion of the
Investigating Authority, are relevant to the investigation or, as the case may be, allow him to take out computer
outprints thereof.
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Provided that the Investigating Authority may submit an
interim report pending completion of investigations if he
considers necessary in the interest of investors and the
securities market or as directed by the appointing
authority.”
Regulation 9 envisages that the investigating authority must submit a report to
the appointing authority upon the completion of its investigation in the course of
which all relevant facts have to be taken into account. The investigating authority
may even submit an interim report, if necessary, in the interest of investors and
the securities market or, if directed by the appointing authority.
19 Regulation 10 deals with the Board’s power of enforcement. According to
Regulation 10:
“10. The Board may, after consideration of the report
referred to in regulation 9, if satisfied that there is a
violation of these regulations and after giving a
reasonable opportunity of hearing to the persons
concerned, issue such directions or take such action as
mentioned in regulation 11 and regulation 12 :
Provided that the Board may, in the interest of investors
and the securities market, pending the receipt of the
report of the investigating authority referred to in
regulation 9, issue directions under regulation 11:
Provided further that the Board may, in the interest of
investors and securities market, dispense with the
opportunity of pre-decisional hearing by recording
reasons in writing and shall give an opportunity of postdecisional hearing to the persons concerned as
expeditiously as possible.”
20 The directions or measures which can be adopted by the Board are
specified in Regulations 11 and 12 which read as follows: -
“11. (1) The Board may, without prejudice to the
provisions contained in subsections (1), (2), (2A) and (3)
of section 11 and section 11B of the Act, by an order, for
reasons to be recorded in writing, in the interests of
investors and securities market, issue or take any of the
following actions or directions, either pending investigation
or enquiry or on completion of such investigation or
enquiry, namely :—
PART C
21
(a) suspend the trading of the security found to be or
prima facie found to be involved in fraudulent and unfair
trade practice in a recognized stock exchange;
(b) restrain persons from accessing the securities market
and prohibit any person associated with securities market
to buy, sell or deal in securities;
(c) suspend any office-bearer of any stock exchange or
self-regulatory organization from holding such position;
(d) impound and retain the proceeds or securities in
respect of any transaction which is in violation or prima
facie in violation of these regulations;
(e) direct and intermediary or any person associated with
the securities market in any manner not to dispose of or
alienate an asset forming part of a fraudulent and unfair
transaction;
(f) require the person concerned to call upon any of its
officers, other employees or representatives to refrain
from dealing in securities in any particular manner;
(g) prohibit the person concerned from disposing of any of
the securities acquired in contravention of these
regulations;
(h) direct the person concerned to dispose of any such
securities acquired in contravention of these regulations,
in such manner as the Board may deem fit, for restoring
the status quo ante.
(2) The Board shall issue a press release in respect of
any final order passed under sub-regulation (1) in at least
two newspapers of which one shall have nationwide
circulation and shall also put the order on the website of
the Board.
12. (1) The Board may, without prejudice to the provisions
contained in subsections (1), (2), (2A) and (3) of section
11 and section 11B of the Act, by an order, for reasons to
be recorded in writing, in the interests of investors and
securities market take the following action against an
intermediary :
(a) issue a warning or censure
(b) suspend the registration of the intermediary; or
(c) cancel of the registration of the intermediary
Provided that no final order of suspension or cancellation
of an intermediary for violation of these regulations shall
be passed unless the procedure specified in the
regulations applicable to such intermediary under the
Securities and Exchange Board of India (Procedure for
PART C
22
Holding Enquiry by Enquiry Officer and Imposing Penalty)
Regulations, 2002 is complied with.”
21 Regulation 10 empowers the Board to either issue a direction or take
action as is specified in Regulations 11 and 12. Before issuing directions or
taking action under Regulations 11 and 12, three steps have to be traversed by
the Board. The first stage is the consideration of the report of the investigating
authority which has been referred to in Regulation 9. The second is the furnishing
of a reasonable opportunity of being heard. The third is the satisfaction of the
Board that there is a violation of the regulations. Regulation 10 indicates in clear
terms that the report which has been submitted by the investigating authority
under Regulation 9 is an intrinsic component of the Board’s satisfaction for
determining whether there has been any violation of the regulations. Regulation
10 contains a mandate for the Board to consider the report which is referred to in
Regulation 9. The submission which has been urged on behalf of SEBI is to the
effect that (i) the investigation report is a part of the internal administrative
deliberations of the Board; (ii) it need not be disclosed; and that (iii) only those
materials which are relied on have to be disclosed misses a crucial part of
Regulation 10. The language in which Regulation 10 is couched indicates that
consideration of the report of the investigating authority which is submitted under
Regulation 9 is one of the components guiding the Board’s satisfaction on the
violation of the regulations. The words of Regulation 10 indicate that the Board
“after consideration of the report referred to in regulation 9, if satisfied that there
is a violation of these regulations and after giving a reasonable opportunity of
hearing to the persons concerned”, takes action under Regulations 11 and 12. As
a result of the mandate of Regulation 10, the Board has to consider the
PART C
23
investigation report as an intrinsic element in arriving at its satisfaction on
whether there has been a violation of the regulations.
C.2 Duty to Disclose Investigative Material
22 While the respondents have submitted that only materials that have been
relied on by the Board need to be disclosed, the appellant has contended that all
relevant materials need to be disclosed. While trying to answer this issue, we are
faced with a multitude of other equally important issues. These issues, all
paramount in shaping the jurisprudence surrounding the principles of access to
justice and transparency, range from identifying the purpose and extent of
disclosure required, to balancing the conflicting claims of access to justice and
grounds of public interest such as privacy, confidentiality and market interest. An
identification of the purpose of disclosure would lead us closer identifying the
extent of required disclosure. There are three key purposes that disclosure of
information serves:
(i) Reliability: The possession of information by both the parties can aid
the courts in determining the truth of the contentions. The role of the
court is not restricted to interpreting the provisions of law but also
determining the veracity and truth of the allegations made before it. The
court would be able to perform this function accurately only if both
parties have access to information and possess the opportunity to
address arguments and counter-arguments related to the information;
(ii) Fair Trial: Since a verdict of the Court has far reaching repercussions
on the life and liberty of an individual, it is only fair that there is a
PART C
24
legitimate expectation that the parties are provided all the aid in order
for them to effectively participate in the proceedings;
(iii) Transparency and accountability: The investigative agencies and the
judicial institution are held accountable through transparency and not
opaqueness of proceedings. Opaqueness furthers a culture of
prejudice, bias, and impunity – principles that are antithetical to
transparency. It is of utmost importance that in a country grounded in
the Rule of Law, the institutions adopt those procedures that further the
democratic principles of transparency and accountability. The principles
of fairness and transparency of adjudicatory proceedings are the
cornerstones of the principle of open justice. This is the reason why an
adjudicatory authority is required to record its reasons for every
judgement or order it passes. However, the duty to be transparent in
the adjudicatory process does not begin and end at providing a
reasoned order. Keeping a party bereft of the information that
influenced the decision of an authority undertaking an adjudicatory
function also undermines the transparency of the judicial process. It
denies the concerned party and the public at large the ability to
effectively scrutinise the decisions of the authority since it creates an
information asymmetry.
23 The purpose of disclosure of information is not merely individualistic, that is
to prevent errors in the verdict but is also towards fulfilling the larger institutional
purpose of fair trial and transparency. Since the purpose of disclosure of
information targets both the outcome (reliability) and the process (fair trial and
PART C
25
transparency), it would be insufficient if only the material relied on is disclosed.
Such a rule of disclosure, only holds nexus to the outcome and not the process.
Therefore, as a default rule, all relevant material must be disclosed.
24 It would be fundamentally contrary to the principles of natural justice if the
relevant part of the investigation report which pertains to the appellant is not
disclosed. The appellant has to be given a reasonable opportunity of hearing.
The requirement of a reasonable opportunity would postulate that such material
which has been and has to be taken into account under Regulation 10 must be
disclosed to the noticee. If the report of the investigation authority under
Regulation 9 has to be considered by the Board before satisfaction is arrived at
on a possible violation of the regulations, the principles of natural justice require
due disclosure of the report.
25 The consequence of the Board arriving at a satisfaction that there has
been a violation of the regulations is that the Board can take recourse to the
actions specified under Regulations 11 and 12. Regulation 11 empowers the
Board to:
(i) Suspend the trading of the security found to be involved in a fraudulent
and unfair trade practice in a recognized stock exchange;
(ii) Restraining persons from accessing the securities market and
prohibiting any person associated with it from dealing in securities;
(iii) Suspending an office bearer of a recognized stock exchange;
(iv) Impounding and retaining the proceeds or securities;
PART C
26
(v) Issuing a direction not to dispose of or alienate an asset forming part of
a fraudulent and unfair transaction;
(vi) Prohibit the disposal of any of the securities acquired in contravention
of these regulations; and
(vii) Directing the disposal of any securities in accordance with the mandate
of the Board.
Under Regulation 11(2), a press release has to be issued by the Board in respect
of a final order which is passed under Regulation 11(1).
26 Regulation 12 empowers the Board to suspend or cancel the registration of
an intermediary among other things. The provisions of Regulations 11 and 12
indicate that the consequences of the satisfaction which is arrived at by the Board
under Regulation 10, if there is a violation of the Regulations, are grave.
27 The submission of Mr C U Singh, learned senior counsel is that only those
materials which are relied upon should be disclosed to the first respondent.
Regulation 10, as we have noted earlier, stipulates that the satisfaction of the
Board whether there has been a violation of the regulations has to be arrived at:
(i) after considering the report of the investigating authority referred to in
Regulation 9; and
(ii) after giving a reasonable opportunity of hearing to the person
concerned.
Once the subordinate legislation mandates that the investigating authority’s
report is an essential ingredient for the Board to arrive at the satisfaction, it
requires due disclosure.
PART C
27
28 Now in the above context, it would be material to advert to the decision of
this court in Natwar Singh (supra). The issue before the two-judge Bench of this
Court was whether a noticee who is served with a show cause notice under Rule
4(1) of the Foreign Exchange Management (Adjudication Proceedings and
Appeal) Rules 200020, is entitled to demand all the documents in the possession
of the adjudicating authority including those documents upon which no reliance
has been placed while issuing a notice to show cause as to why an enquiry
should not be initiated against him. Rule 4 is in the following terms:
“4. Holding of inquiry.--
(1) For the purpose of Adjudicating under section 13 of
the Act whether any person has committed any
contravention as specified in that section of the Act, the
Adjudicating Authority shall, issue a notice to such person
requiring him to show cause within such period as may be
specified in the notice (being not less than ten days from
the date of service thereof) why an inquiry should not be
held against him.
(2) Every notice under sub-rule (1) to any such person
shall indicate the nature of contravention alleged to have
been committed by him. (3) After considering the cause, if
any, shown by such person, the Adjudicating Authority is
of the opinion that an inquiry should be held, he shall
issue a notice fixing a date for the appearance of that
person either personally or through his legal practitioner
or a chartered accountant duly authorised by him.”
Rule 4(1) of the FEMA Rules 2000 indicates that in the first instance, the
adjudicating authority has to issue a notice requiring the person to show cause
why an enquiry should not be held against him. The stage of the notice under
Rule 4(1) is not for adjudication but is for the purpose of deciding whether an
enquiry should be held. If after considering the cause which is shown, the
adjudicating authority is of the opinion that an enquiry should be held, thereupon
under Rule 4(3), a notice is issued for the appearance of the person. Sub-Rule
 20 “FEMA Rules 2000”
PART C
28
(4) provides that on the date fixed, the adjudicating authority shall explain the
contravention alleged to have been committed and under sub-Rule (5) an
opportunity of producing documents or evidence has to be given. Under sub-Rule
(8), the adjudicating authority is empowered to impose a penalty if it is satisfied,
upon considering the evidence produced that there has been a contravention.
29 Now in this backdrop, Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy speaking for the twojudge Bench of this Court interpreted Rule 4 as follows:
“23. The Rules do not provide and empower the
Adjudicating Authority to straightaway make any inquiry
into allegations of contravention against any person
against whom a complaint has been received by it. Rule 4
of the Rules mandates that for the purpose of adjudication
whether any person has committed any contravention, the
Adjudicating Authority shall issue a notice to such person
requiring him to show cause as to why an inquiry should
not be held against him. It is clear from a bare reading of
the rule that show cause notice to be so issued is not for
the purposes of making any adjudication into alleged
contravention but only for the purpose of deciding whether
an inquiry should be held against him or not. Every such
notice is required to indicate the nature of contravention
alleged to have been committed by the person concerned.
That after taking the cause, if any, shown by such person,
the Adjudicating Authority is required to form an opinion
as to whether an inquiry is required to be held into the
allegations of contravention. It is only then the real and
substantial inquiry into allegations of contravention
begins.”
The above extract clearly indicates that the show cause notice under Rule 4(1) is
not for the purpose of making an adjudication into the alleged contravention but
only for deciding whether an enquiry must be conducted. The stage when an
enquiry is held is subsequent to the initial stage contemplated by Rule 4(1).
During the course of the adjudication, the fundamental principle is that material
which is used against a person must be brought to notice. As this Court
observed:
PART C
29
“30. The right to fair hearing is a guaranteed right.
Every person before an authority exercising the
adjudicatory powers has a right to know the evidence
to be used against him. This principle is firmly
established and recognised by this Court in Dhakeswari
Cotton Mills Ltd. v. CIT [AIR 1955 SC 65 : (1955) 1 SCR
941] . However, disclosure not necessarily involves supply
of the material. A person may be allowed to inspect the
file and take notes. Whatever mode is used, the
fundamental principle remains that nothing should be
used against the person which has not been brought to
his notice. If relevant material is not disclosed to a
party, there is prima facie unfairness irrespective of
whether the material in question arose before, during
or after the hearing. The law is fairly well settled if
prejudicial allegations are to be made against a person,
he must be given particulars of that before hearing so that
he can prepare his defence. However, there are various
exceptions to this general rule where disclosure of
evidential material might inflict serious harm on the
person directly concerned or other persons or where
disclosure would be breach of confidence or might be
injurious to the public interest because it would
involve the revelation of official secrets, inhibit
frankness of comment and the detection of crime,
might make it impossible to obtain certain clauses of
essential information at all in the future
(see R. v. Secy. of State for Home Deptt., ex p H [1995
QB 43 : (1994) 3 WLR 1110 : (1995) 1 All ER 479 (CA)] ).
31. The concept of fairness may require the adjudicating
authority to furnish copies of those documents upon which
reliance has been placed by him to issue show-cause
notice requiring the noticee to explain as to why an inquiry
under Section 16 of the Act should not be initiated. To this
extent, the principles of natural justice and concept of
fairness are required to be read into Rule 4(1) of the
Rules. Fair procedure and the principles of natural justice
are in-built into the Rules. A noticee is always entitled
to satisfy the adjudicating authority that those very
documents upon which reliance has been placed do
not make out even a prima facie case requiring any
further inquiry. In such view of the matter, we hold
that all such documents relied on by the authority are
required to be furnished to the noticee enabling him
to show a proper cause as to why an inquiry should
not be held against him though the Rules do not
provide for the same. Such a fair reading of the
provision would not amount to supplanting the procedure
laid down and would in no manner frustrate the apparent
purpose of the statute.”
 (emphasis supplied)
PART C
30
30 The decision of this Court distinguishes between the initial stage under
Rule 4(1) which is only for the purpose of deciding whether an enquiry has to be
held and the subsequent stage of adjudication into the allegations of
contravention. This Court further held:
“34. As noticed, a reasonable opportunity of being heard
is to be provided by the adjudicating authority in the
manner prescribed for the purpose of imposing any
penalty as provided for in the Act and not at the stage
where the adjudicating authority is required merely to
decide as to whether an inquiry at all be held into the
matter. Imposing of penalty after the adjudication is
fraught with grave and serious consequences and
therefore, the requirement of providing a reasonable
opportunity of being heard before imposition of any such
penalty is to be met. In contradistinction, the opinion
formed by the adjudicating authority whether an inquiry
should be held into the allegations made in the complaint
are not fraught with such grave consequences and
therefore the minimum requirement of a show-cause
notice and consideration of cause shown would meet the
ends of justice. A proper hearing always include, no
doubt, a fair opportunity to those who are parties in the
controversy for correcting or contradicting anything
prejudicial to their view.”
31 On the facts of that case, the Court held that the enquiry against the
noticee was yet to commence:
“36. In the present case, the inquiry against the noticee is
yet to commence. The evidence as may be available
upon which the adjudicating authority may place
reliance, undoubtedly, is required to be furnished to
the person proceeded against at the second stage of
inquiry into allegations of contravention. It is at that
stage, the adjudicating authority is not only required to
give an opportunity to such person to produce such
documents as evidence as he may consider relevant to
the inquiry, but also enforce attendance of any person
acquainted with the facts of the case to give evidence or
to produce any document which in its opinion may be
useful for or relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry. It
is no doubt true that natural justice often requires the
disclosure of the reports and evidence in the
possession of the deciding authority and such reports
and evidence relevant to the subject-matter of the
inquiry may have to be furnished unless the scheme
of the Act specifically prohibits such disclosure.”
 (emphasis supplied)
PART C
31
This Court further noted that the documents which the appellant wanted were
documents upon which no reliance was placed by the authority for setting the law
into motion. Consequently, this Court concluded that:
“48. On a fair reading of the statute and the Rules
suggests that there is no duty of disclosure of all the
documents in possession of the adjudicating authority
before forming an opinion that an inquiry is required to be
held into the alleged contraventions by a noticee. Even
the principles of natural justice and concept of fairness do
not require the statute and the Rules to be so read. Any
other interpretation may result in defeat of the very object
of the Act. Concept of fairness is not a one-way street.
The principles of natural justice are not intended to
operate as roadblocks to obstruct statutory inquiries. Duty
of adequate disclosure is only an additional procedural
safeguard in order to ensure the attainment of the fairness
and it has its own limitations. The extent of its applicability
depends upon the statutory framework.”
32 The issue in Natwar Singh (supra) was whether the authority was bound
to disclose to the noticee all the documents in its possession before forming an
opinion on whether an enquiry is required to be held into the alleged
contravention by the noticee. The Court held that at that stage there was no
requirement of furnishing all such documents to the noticee since the only
purpose of the notice under Rule 4(1) was for deciding whether an enquiry should
be held. Rule 4(1), in other words, was not a final adjudication and consequently
the requirement of a disclosure of all materials in the possession of the authority
was not attracted. At that stage, it was sufficient that only documents that have
been relied on are disclosed.
33 The High Court in the present case has palpably misconstrued the
judgment in Natwar Singh (supra). The High Court has failed to notice that the
issue in that case was whether at the stage when the authority decides under
Rule 4(1) of the FEMA Rules 2000 whether an enquiry should be held, a
PART C
32
disclosure of all documents in the possession of the authority to the noticee is
warranted. This was answered in the negative. This Court distinguished the stage
of adjudication as distinct from the initial stage under Rule 4(1). At the stage of
adjudication, all documents useful or relevant to the subject-matter have to be
disclosed to the notice, subject to exceptions noticed by the court.
34 On behalf of the Board, it has been urged that the investigation report is in
the nature of an inter-departmental communication and need not be disclosed.
Reliance was placed on the judgment of this Court in Krishna Chandra Tandon
(supra) to buttress the submission. However, it is clear from the judgment that
even if the documents are merely inter-departmental communications, there is a
duty to disclose such documents if they have been relied upon by the enquiry
officer. A two-Judge Bench of this observed:
“16. Mr Hardy next contended that the appellant had really
no reasonable opportunity to defend himself and in this
connection he invited our attention to some of the points
connected with the enquiry with which we have now to
deal. It was first contended that inspection of relevant
records and copies of documents were not granted to him.
The High Court has dealt with the matter and found that
there was no substance in the complaint. All that Mr
Hardy was able to point out to us was that the reports
received by the CIT from his departmental subordinates
before the charge-sheet was served on the appellant had
not been made available to the appellant. It appears that
on complaints being received about his work the CIT had
asked the Inspecting Assistant Commissioner Shri R.N.
Srivastava to make a report. He made a report. It is
obvious that the appellant was not entitled to a copy of the
report made by Mr Srivastava or any other officer unless
the enquiry officer relied on these reports. It is very
necessary for an authority which orders an enquiry to be
satisfied that there are prima facie grounds for holding a
disciplinary enquiry and, therefore, before he makes up
his mind he will either himself investigate or direct his
subordinates to investigate in the matter and it is only
after he receives the result of these investigations that he
can decide as to whether disciplinary action is called for or
not. Therefore, these documents of the nature of interdepartmental communications between officers
preliminary to the holding of enquiry have really no
PART C
33
importance unless the Enquiry Officer wants to rely
on them for his conclusions. In that case it would only
be right that copies of the same should be given to
the delinquent. It is not the case here that either the
Enquiry Officer or the CIT relied on the report of Shri R.N.
Srivastava or any other officer for his finding against the
appellant. Therefore, there is no substance in this
submission.”
 (emphasis supplied)
35 However, merely because the investigating authority has denied placing
reliance on the report would not mean that such material cannot be disclosed to
the noticee. The court may look into the relevance of the material to the proposed
action and its nexus to the stage of adjudication. Simply put, this entails
evaluating whether the material in all reasonable probability would influence the
decision of the authority. The above position was laid down by this Court in
Khudiram Das v. State of West Bengal21. Ruling in the context of preventive
detention, a four-judge Bench of this Court observed:
“15. Now, the proposition can hardly be disputed that
if there is before the District Magistrate material
against the detenu which is of a highly damaging
character and having nexus and relevancy with the
object of detention, and proximity with the time when
the subjective satisfaction forming the basis of the
detention order was arrived at, it would be legitimate
for the Court to infer that such material must have
influenced the District Magistrate in arriving at his
subjective satisfaction and in such a case the Court
would refuse to accept the bald statement of the
District Magistrate that he did not take such material
into account and excluded it from consideration. It is
elementary that the human mind does not function in
compartments. When it receives impressions from
different sources, it is the totality of the impressions which
goes into the making of the decision and it is not possible
to analyse and dissect the impressions and predicate
which impressions went into the making of the decision
and which did not. Nor is it an easy exercise to erase the
impression created by particular circumstances so as to
exclude the influence of such impression in the decision
making process. Therefore, in a case where the material
before the District Magistrate is of a character which
would in all reasonable probability be likely to influence
the decision of any reasonable human being, the Court
 21 (1975) 2 SCC 81
PART C
34
would be most reluctant to accept the ipse dixit of the
District Magistrate that he was not so influenced and a
fortiori, if such material is not disclosed to the detenu, the
order of detention would be vitiated, both on the ground
that all the basic facts and materials which influenced the
subjective satisfaction of the District Magistrate were not
communicated to the detenu as also on the ground that
the detenu was denied an opportunity of making an
effective representation against the order of detention.”
 (emphasis supplied)
The principle that the material that may influence the decision of a quasi-judicial
authority to award a penalty must be disclosed to a delinquent was affirmed by
this Court in Union of India and Ors. v. Mohd. Ramzan Khan22. In that case,
this Court laid down that a delinquent officer is entitled to receive the report of
the enquiry officer which has been furnished to the disciplinary authority. This
principle was affirmed by a Constitution Bench of this Court in Managing
Director, ECIL, Hyderabad v. B. Karunakar23. The rationale behind the right to
receive the report of the enquiry officer was explained by this Court in the
following terms:
“26. The reason why the right to receive the report of
the enquiry officer is considered an essential part of
the reasonable opportunity at the first stage and also
a principle of natural justice is that the findings
recorded by the enquiry officer form an important
material before the disciplinary authority which along
with the evidence is taken into consideration by it to
come to its conclusions. It is difficult to say in
advance, to what extent the said findings including
the punishment, if any, recommended in the report
would influence the disciplinary authority while
drawing its conclusions. The findings further might
have been recorded without considering the relevant
evidence on record, or by misconstruing it or
unsupported by it. If such a finding is to be one of the
documents to be considered by the disciplinary
authority, the principles of natural justice require that
the employee should have a fair opportunity to meet,
explain and controvert it before he is condemned. It is
negation of the tenets of justice and a denial of fair
opportunity to the employee to consider the findings
 22 (1991) 1 SCC 588 23 (1993) 4 SCC 727
PART C
35
recorded by a third party like the enquiry officer
without giving the employee an opportunity to reply to
it. Although it is true that the disciplinary authority is
supposed to arrive at its own findings on the basis of
the evidence recorded in the inquiry, it is also equally
true that the disciplinary authority takes into
consideration the findings recorded by the enquiry
officer along with the evidence on record. In the
circumstances, the findings of the enquiry officer do
constitute an important material before the
disciplinary authority which is likely to influence its
conclusions. If the enquiry officer were only to record the
evidence and forward the same to the disciplinary
authority, that would not constitute any additional material
before the disciplinary authority of which the delinquent
employee has no knowledge. However, when the enquiry
officer goes further and records his findings, as stated
above, which may or may not be based on the evidence
on record or are contrary to the same or in ignorance of it,
such findings are an additional material unknown to the
employee but are taken into consideration by the
disciplinary authority while arriving at its conclusions. Both
the dictates of the reasonable opportunity as well as the
principles of natural justice, therefore, require that before
the disciplinary authority comes to its own conclusions,
the delinquent employee should have an opportunity to
reply to the enquiry officer's findings. The disciplinary
authority is then required to consider the evidence, the
report of the enquiry officer and the representation of the
employee against it.”
 (emphasis supplied)
For the purpose of determining if prejudice has been caused by a nondisclosure, this Court held that the report must be furnished to the aggrieved
person and the employee must shoulder the burden of proving on facts that his
case was prejudiced – either the outcome or the punishment – by the nondisclosure:
“30. [v] ] The next question to be answered is what is the
effect on the order of punishment when the report of the
enquiry officer is not furnished to the employee and what
relief should be granted to him in such cases. The answer
to this question has to be relative to the punishment
awarded. When the employee is dismissed or removed
from service and the inquiry is set aside because the
report is not furnished to him, in some cases the nonfurnishing of the report may have prejudiced him gravely
while in other cases it may have made no difference to the
ultimate punishment awarded to him. Hence to direct
reinstatement of the employee with back-wages in all
PART C
36
cases is to reduce the rules of justice to a mechanical
ritual. The theory of reasonable opportunity and the
principles of natural justice have been evolved to uphold
the rule of law and to assist the individual to vindicate his
just rights. They are not incantations to be invoked nor
rites to be performed on all and sundry occasions.
Whether in fact, prejudice has been caused to the
employee or not on account of the denial to him of the
report, has to be considered on the facts and
circumstances of each case. Where, therefore, even
after the furnishing of the report, no different
consequence would have followed, it would be a
perversion of justice to permit the employee to
resume duty and to get all the consequential benefits.
It amounts to rewarding the dishonest and the guilty and
thus to stretching the concept of justice to illogical and
exasperating limits. It amounts to an “unnatural expansion
of natural justice” which in itself is antithetical to justice.
31. Hence, in all cases where the enquiry officer's report
is not furnished to the delinquent employee in the
disciplinary proceedings, the Courts and Tribunals should
cause the copy of the report to be furnished to the
aggrieved employee if he has not already secured it
before coming to the Court/Tribunal and give the
employee an opportunity to show how his or her case
was prejudiced because of the non-supply of the
report. If after hearing the parties, the Court/Tribunal
comes to the conclusion that the non-supply of the
report would have made no difference to the ultimate
findings and the punishment given, the Court/Tribunal
should not interfere with the order of punishment. The
Court/Tribunal should not mechanically set aside the
order of punishment on the ground that the report was not
furnished as is regrettably being done at present.
 (emphasis supplied)
36 In State Bank of Patiala v. SK Sharma24, this Court noted that if a facet of
a rule of natural justice is violated on grounds of preserving public interest, the
entire proceeding is not vitiated unless prejudice has been caused to the
delinquent. A distinction was made between the complete non-abidance of the
principles of natural justice, that is where no information was disclosed and
arguments of insufficient disclosure. It was held that when the latter argument is
 24 (1996) 3 SCC 364
PART C
37
made, the Court must determine if the insufficient disclosure caused prejudice.
This Court observed:
“28. The decisions cited above make one thing clear, viz.,
principles of natural justice cannot be reduced to any hard
and fast formulae. As said in Russell v. Duke of
Norfolk [(1949) 1 All ER 109 : 65 TLR 225] way back in
1949, these principles cannot be put in a strait-jacket.
Their applicability depends upon the context and the facts
and circumstances of each case. (See Mohinder Singh
Gill v. Chief Election Commr. [(1978) 1 SCC 405 : (1978)
2 SCR 272] ) The objective is to ensure a fair hearing, a
fair deal, to the person whose rights are going to be
affected. (See A.K. Roy v. Union of India [(1982) 1 SCC
271 : 1982 SCC (Cri) 152] and Swadeshi Cotton
Mills v. Union of India [(1981) 1 SCC 664] .) As pointed
out by this Court in A.K. Kraipak v. Union of India [(1969)
2 SCC 262] , the dividing line between quasi-judicial
function and administrative function (affecting the rights of
a party) has become quite thin and almost
indistinguishable — a fact also emphasised by House of
Lords in Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the
Civil Service [(1984) 3 All ER 935 : (1984) 3 WLR 1174 :
1985 AC 374, HL] where the principles of natural justice
and a fair hearing were treated as synonymous.
Whichever the case, it is from the standpoint of fair
hearing — applying the test of prejudice, as it may be
called — that any and every complaint of violation of the
rule of audi alteram partem should be examined. Indeed,
there may be situations where observance of the
requirement of prior notice/hearing may defeat the very
proceeding — which may result in grave prejudice to
public interest. It is for this reason that the rule of postdecisional hearing as a sufficient compliance with natural
justice was evolved in some of the cases, e.g., Liberty Oil
Mills v. Union of India [(1984) 3 SCC 465] . There may
also be cases where the public interest or the
interests of the security of State or other similar
considerations may make it inadvisable to observe
the rule of audi alteram partem altogether [as in the
case of situations contemplated by clauses (b) and (c)
of the proviso to Article 311(2)] or to disclose the
material on which a particular action is being taken.
There may indeed be any number of varying situations
which it is not possible for anyone to foresee. In our
respectful opinion, the principles emerging from the
decided cases can be stated in the following terms in
relation to the disciplinary orders and enquiries: a
distinction ought to be made between violation of the
principle of natural justice, audi alteram partem, as
such and violation of a facet of the said principle. In other
words, distinction is between “no notice”/“no hearing” and
“no adequate hearing” or to put it in different words, “no
opportunity” and “no adequate opportunity”. To illustrate
— take a case where the person is dismissed from
service without hearing him altogether (as
PART C
38
in Ridge v. Baldwin [1964 AC 40 : (1963) 2 All ER 66 :
(1963) 2 WLR 935] ). It would be a case falling under the
first category and the order of dismissal would
be invalid — or void, if one chooses to use that
expression (Calvin v. Carr [1980 AC 574 : (1979) 2 All ER
440 : (1979) 2 WLR 755, PC] ). But where the person is
dismissed from service, say, without supplying him a copy
of the enquiry officer's report (Managing Director,
ECIL v. B. Karunakar [(1993) 4 SCC 727 : 1993 SCC
(L&S) 1184 : (1993) 25 ATC 704] ) or without affording
him a due opportunity of cross-examining a witness (K.L.
Tripathi [(1984) 1 SCC 43 : 1984 SCC (L&S) 62] ) it would
be a case falling in the latter category — violation of a
facet of the said rule of natural justice — in which case,
the validity of the order has to be tested on the touchstone
of prejudice, i.e., whether, all in all, the person concerned
did or did not have a fair hearing. It would not be correct
— in the light of the above decisions to say that for
any and every violation of a facet of natural justice or
of a rule incorporating such facet, the order passed is
altogether void and ought to be set aside without
further enquiry. In our opinion, the approach and test
adopted in B. Karunakar [(1993) 4 SCC 727 : 1993 SCC
(L&S) 1184 : (1993) 25 ATC 704] should govern all
cases where the complaint is not that there was no
hearing (no notice, no opportunity and no hearing)
but one of not affording a proper hearing (i.e.,
adequate or a full hearing) or of violation of a
procedural rule or requirement governing the enquiry;
the complaint should be examined on the touchstone
of prejudice as aforesaid.”
 (emphasis supplied)
37 In State of Uttar Pradesh v. Ramesh Chandra Mangalik25, it was held
that the duty to disclose is confined only to material and relevant documents
which may have been relied upon in support of the charges. In that case, the
personal file of other officers was not supplied to the delinquent officer. It was
noted that such documents have not been relied upon by the enquiry officer. The
delinquent officer was not able to prove the relevance of the documents that were
suppressed. This Court observed:
“11. Learned counsel for the appellant has further
submitted that particular documents, copies of which are
said to have not been supplied are not indicated by the
respondent, much less in the order of the High Court nor
has their relevance been pointed out. The submission is
that the delinquent will also have to show as to in what
 25 (2002) 3 SCC 443
PART C
39
manner any particular document was relevant in
connection with the inquiry and what prejudice was
caused to him by non-furnishing of a copy of the
document. In support of this contention, reliance has been
placed upon a case reported in Chandrama
Tewari v. Union of India [1987 Supp SCC 518 : 1988 SCC
(L&S) 226 : (1987) 5 ATC 369] . It has been observed in
this case that the obligation to supply copies of
documents is confined only to material and relevant
documents which may have been relied upon in
support of the charges. It is further observed that if a
document even though mentioned in the memo of
charges, has no bearing on the charges or if it is not
relied upon or it may not be necessary for crossexamination of any witness, non-supply of such a
document will not cause any prejudice to the
delinquent. The inquiry would not be vitiated in such
circumstances. In State of T.N. v. Thiru K.V.
Perumal [(1996) 5 SCC 474 : 1996 SCC (L&S) 1280]
relied upon by the appellant, it is held that it is for the
delinquent to show the relevance of a document a
copy of which he insists to be supplied to him.
Prejudice caused by non-supply of document has
also to be seen. In yet another case relied upon by the
learned counsel for the appellant, reported in State of
U.P. v. Harendra Arora [(2001) 6 SCC 392 : 2001 SCC
(L&S) 959] it has been held that a delinquent must show
the prejudice caused to him by non-supply of a copy of
the document where order of punishment is challenged on
that ground.”
(emphasis supplied)
38 In Kothari Filaments v. Commr. Of Customs26, this Court held that the
Commissioner of Customs in the exercise of its quasi-judicial powers cannot pass
an order on the basis of material which is only known to the authorities. This
Court held:
“14. The statutory authorities under the Act exercise
quasi-judicial function. By reason of the impugned order,
the properties could be confiscated, redemption fine and
personal fine could be imposed in the event an importer
was found guilty of violation of the provisions of the Act. In
the event a finding as regards violation of the provisions of
the Act is arrived at, several steps resulting in civil or evil
consequences may be taken. The principles of natural
justice, therefore, were required to be complied with.
15. The Act does not prohibit application of the principles
of natural justice. The Commissioner of Customs either
could not have passed the order on the basis of the
materials which were known only to them, copies whereof
 26 (2009) 2 SCC 192
PART C
40
were not supplied or inspection thereto had not been
given. He, thus, could not have adverted to the report of
the overseas enquiries. A person charged with
misdeclaration is entitled to know the ground on the basis
whereof he would be penalised. He may have an answer
to the charges or may not have. But there cannot be any
doubt whatsoever that in law he is entitled to a proper
hearing which would include supply of the documents.
Only on knowing the contents of the documents, he could
furnish an effective reply….”
39 The following principles emerge from the above discussion:
(i) A quasi-judicial authority has a duty to disclose the material that has
been relied upon at the stage of adjudication; and
(ii) An ipse dixit of the authority that it has not relied on certain material
would not exempt it of its liability to disclose such material if it is
relevant to and has a nexus to the action that is taken by the authority.
In all reasonable probability, such material would have influenced the
decision reached by the authority.
Thus, the actual test is whether the material that is required to be disclosed is
relevant for purpose of adjudication. If it is, then the principles of natural justice
require its due disclosure.
40 The investigation report forms the material considering which, the Board
arrives at a satisfaction regarding whether there has been a violation of the
regulations. If it is satisfied that there has been a violation of the regulations, after
giving a reasonable opportunity to be heard, the Board is empowered to take
action according to Regulations 11 and 12. It would not suffice for the first
respondent to claim as it did before the High Court that it did not rely on the
investigation report. The ipse dixit of the authority that it was not influenced by
certain material would not suffice. If the material is relevant to and has a nexus to
PART C
41
the stage at which satisfaction is reached by an authority, such material would be
deemed to be important for the purpose of adjudication. The written submissions
of the Board clearly state that the findings of the investigation report are important
for the authority to decide whether there are any prima facie grounds to initiate
enforcement proceedings under Regulation 10. The relevant extract of the
submissions is reproduced below:
“It is submitted that Regulation 9 of PFUTP Regulations
require the Investigating Authority to submit the report
after completion of the investigation to the appointing
authority. However, the provision does not require
furnishing of the report to the Noticee. Further, the
investigation report is merely a culmination of documents
which the investigating authority relies on/come across
while conducting the investigation and is not a piece of
evidence in itself. It is a report which is necessary for
an authority, who orders an investigation, to decide
as to whether there are prima-facie grounds to initiate
enforcement proceedings or not. Therefore, before
the authority makes up his mind, he will either himself
investigate or direct his subordinates to investigate in
the matter. It is only after the authority receives the
report of the investigation that he can decide as to
whether action is called for or not. Therefore, the
investigation report is in the nature of inter-departmental
communications between officers investigating the matter
and authority who can decide any enforcement action
against the entity.
…..
The findings recorded in the investigation report
against the Noticee are brought out in the SCN and the
copies of all the documents that are relied upon by SEBI,
while issuing the SCN are always shared with the
concerned. The present case is no exception.”
 (emphasis supplied)
41 The above extracts indicate that the findings of the investigation report are
relevant for the Board to arrive at the satisfaction on whether the Regulations
have been violated. Even if it is assumed that the report is an inter-departmental
communication, as held in Krishna Chandra Tandon (supra), there is a duty to
disclose such report if it is relevant for the satisfaction of the enforcement
authority for the determination of the alleged violation.
PART C
42
42 In Khudiram Das (supra), a four-Judge Bench of this Court laid down a
two-prong test for the standard of ‘relevancy’; firstly, the material must have
nexus with the order and secondly, the material might have influenced the
decision of the authority. A Constitution Bench of this Court in Karunakar
(supra) held that the non-disclosure of the relevant information is not in itself
sufficient to warrant the setting aside of the order of punishment. It was held that
in order to set aside the order of punishment, the aggrieved person must be able
prove that prejudice has been caused to him due to non-disclosure. To prove
prejudice, he must prove that had the material been disclosed to him the outcome
or the punishment would have been different. The test for the extent of disclosure
and the corresponding remedy for non-disclosure is dependent on the objective
that the disclosure seeks to achieve. Therefore, the impact of non-disclosure on
the reliability of the verdict must also be determined vis-à-vis, the overall fairness
of the proceeding. While determining the reliability of the verdict and punishment,
the court must also look into the possible uses of the undisclosed information for
purposes ancillary to the outcome, but that which might have impacted the
verdict.
43 In Natwar Singh (supra), it was held that material which is relevant to the
subject-matter of the proceedings must be disclosed, unless the scheme of the
statute indicates to the contrary. The non-disclosure of such material is prima
facie arbitrary. A deviation from this general rule was made based on the stage of
the proceedings. It was held that it is sufficient to disclose the materials relied on
if it is for the purpose of issuing a show cause notice for initiating inquiry.
However, in the present case, since the report of the investigating authority under
PART C
43
Regulation 9 enters into the calculus of circumstances borne in mind by the
Board in arriving at its satisfaction under Regulation 10 for taking actions as
specified in Regulations 11 and 12, it would be contrary to the Regulations to
assert that the investigation report is merely an internal document of which a
disclosure is not warranted. In any event, the language of Regulation 10 makes it
clear that the Board forms an opinion regarding the violation of Regulations after
considering the investigation report prepared under Regulation 9. Thus, the
investigation report has to be duly disclosed to the noticee. However, the right to
disclosure is not absolute. It needs to be determined if the non-disclosure of the
investigative report is protected by any of the exceptions to the rule.
C.3. Exceptions to the Duty to Disclose
44 The contention of the respondents is that since the investigation report
under Regulation 9 would also include information on “commercial and business
interests, documents involving strategic information, investment strategies,
rationale for investments, commercial information and information regarding the
business affairs of the entities/persons concerned” affecting the privacy and the
competitive position of other entities, it should not be disclosed. Buttressing this
argument, the respondent referred to clauses (d), (e) and (h) of the sub-Section
(1) of the RTI Act which states there shall be no duty to disclose information
affecting the commercial confidence or that which could harm the competitive
position of a third party or impede the process of investigation, unless there is a
larger public interest in the disclosure of information. The RTI Act attempts to
balance the interests of third party individuals whose information may be
disclosed and public interest in ensuring transparency and accountability. The
PART C
44
RTI Act is reflective of the parliamentary intent to facilitate transparency in the
administration, which is the rationale for the disclosure of information. This is
subject to certain defined exceptions.
45 We cannot be oblivious to the wide range of sensitive information that the
investigation report submitted under Regulation 9 may cover, ranging from
information on financial transactions and on other entities in the securities
market, which might affect third-party rights. The report may contain market
sensitive information which may impinge upon the interest of investors and the
stability of the securities market. The requirement of compliance with the
principles of natural justice cannot therefore be read to encompass the right to a
roving disclosure on matters unconnected or as regards the dealings of third
parties. The investigating authority may acquire information of sensitive nature
bearing upon the orderly functioning of the securities market. The right of the
noticee to disclosure must be balanced with a need to preserve any other thirdparty rights that may be affected.
46 In Natwar Singh (supra), this Court has observed that there are
exceptions to the general rule of disclosing evidentiary material. This Court held
that such exceptions can be invoked if the disclosure of material causes harm to
others, is injurious to public health or breaches confidentiality. While identifying
the purpose of disclosure, we have held that one of the crucial objectives of the
right to disclosure is securing the transparency of institutions. The claims of third
party rights vis-à-vis the right to disclosure cannot be pitted as an issue of public
interest and fair adjudication. The creation of such a binary reduces and limits the
purpose that disclosure of information serves. The respondent should prima
PART C
45
facie establish that the disclosure of the report would affect third party rights. The
onus then shifts to the appellant to prove that the information is necessary to
defend his case appropriately.
47 Applying this test to the facts, we find that the appellant is unable to prove
that the disclosure of the entire report is necessary for him to defend the case.
The first respondent made the following arguments making a prima facie case
that the disclosure of the report would violate third party rights:
(i) Investigation reports contain information on the volatile nature of the
market;
(ii) The report also contains the personal information of various
stakeholders. Disclosure will violate the right to privacy of the third party
individuals; and
(iii) It includes strategic information.
48 The appellant did not sufficiently discharge his burden by proving that the
non-disclosure of the above information would affect his ability to defend himself.
However, merely because a few portions of the enquiry report involve information
on third-parties or confidential information on the securities market, the
respondent does not have a right to withhold the disclosure of the relevant
portions of the report. The first respondent can only claim non-disclosure of those
sections of the report which deal with third party personal information and
strategic information on the functioning of the securities market.
PART C
46
49 Therefore, the Board should determine such parts of the investigation
report under Regulation 9 which have a bearing on the action which is proposed
to be taken against the person to whom the notice to show cause is issued and
disclose the same. It can redact information that impinges on the privacy of third
parties. It cannot exercise unfettered discretion in redacting information. On the
other hand, such parts of the report which are necessary for the appellant to
defend his case against the action proposed to be taken against him need to be
disclosed. It is needless to say that the investigating authority is duty-bound to
disclose such parts of the report to the noticee in good faith. If the investigating
authority attempts to circumvent its duty by revealing minimal information, to the
prejudice of the appellant, it will be in violation of the principles of natural justice.
The court/appellate forum in an appropriate case will be empowered to call for
the investigation report and determine if the duty to disclose has been effectively
complied with.
50 The notice to show cause issued to the appellant is for violation of the
provisions of the SEBI Act, SCRA and PFUTP Regulations. The show cause
notice has specifically referred to what was revealed during the course of the
investigation and has invoked the provisions of the PFUTP Regulations in the
allegations against the appellant. Para 8 (2) of the show cause notice is extracted
below:
“(II) It is alleged that Mr. T. Takano, during whose tenure
the business transactions with FDSL started by virtue of
his position as MD & CEO of Ricoh during FY 2012-13 to
FY 2014-15, was actively involved in committing the fraud
and had knowingly restricted the mandate given to PwC to
six month so as to succeed in hiding his role in the
commission of fraud of publishing untrue financial
statement of Ricoh which resulted in misleading the
PART D
47
investors about the financial performance of the company
and thereby resulted in inducement of traders in the scrip.
The said acts of the Noticee no. 2 are alleged to be
violation of regulations 3 (b), (c), (d), 4(1) and 4(2)(e), (f),
(k) and (r) of SEBI (PFUTP) Regulations, 2003 and clause
49 (V) read with 41 (II)(a) of the erstwhile Listing
Agreement.”
Since the show cause notice has specifically relied upon the report of the
investigation and invokes, inter alia, a violation of the PFUTP Regulations by the
appellant, the mandate of Regulation 10 must be complied with. However, while
directing that there should be a disclosure of the investigation report to the
appellant, it needs to be clarified that this would not permit the appellant to
demand roving inspection of the investigation report which may contain sensitive
information as regards unrelated entities and transactions.
D. Conclusion
51 The conclusions are summarised below:
(i) The appellant has a right to disclosure of the material relevant to the
proceedings initiated against him. A deviation from the general rule of
disclosure of relevant information was made in Natwar Singh (supra)
based on the stage of the proceedings. It is sufficient to disclose the
materials relied on if it is for the purpose of issuing a show cause notice
for deciding whether to initiate an inquiry. However, all information that is
relevant to the proceedings must be disclosed in adjudication
proceedings;
(ii) The Board under Regulation 10 considers the investigation report
submitted by the Investigating Authority under Regulation 9, and if it is
PART D
48
satisfied with the allegations, it could issue punitive measures under
Regulations 11 and 12. Therefore, the investigation report is not merely
an internal document. In any event, the language of Regulation 10 makes
it clear that the Board forms an opinion regarding the violation of
Regulations after considering the investigation report prepared under
Regulation 9;
(iii) The disclosure of material serves a three- fold purpose of decreasing the
error in the verdict, protecting the fairness of the proceedings, and
enhancing the transparency of the investigatory bodies and judicial
institutions;
(iv) A focus on the institutional impact of suppression of material prioritises
the process as opposed to the outcome. The direction of the Constitution
Bench of this Court in Karunakar (supra) that the non-disclosure of
relevant information would render the order of punishment void only if the
aggrieved person is able to prove that prejudice has been caused to him
due to non-disclosure is founded both on the outcome and the process;
(v) The right to disclosure is not absolute. The disclosure of information may
affect other third-party interests and the stability and orderly functioning of
the securities market. The respondent should prima facie establish that
the disclosure of the report would affect third-party rights and the stability
and orderly functioning of the securities market. The onus then shifts to
the appellant to prove that the information is necessary to defend his
case appropriately; and
PART D
49
(vi) Where some portions of the enquiry report involve information on thirdparties or confidential information on the securities market, the
respondent cannot for that reason assert a privilege against disclosing
any part of the report. The respondents can withhold disclosure of those
sections of the report which deal with third-party personal information and
strategic information bearing upon the stable and orderly functioning of
the securities market.
52 The Board shall be duty-bound to provide copies of such parts of the report
which concern the specific allegations which have been levelled against the
appellant in the notice to show cause. However, this does not entitle the appellant
to receive sensitive information regarding third parties and unrelated transactions
that may form part of the investigation report.
53 During the course of the hearing, the Court has been apprised of the fact
that though the hearing before the designated officer has been held, no orders
have been passed in deference to the pendency of the present proceedings.
Having regard to the conclusion which has been arrived at above, we direct that
after a due disclosure is made to the appellant in terms as noted above, a
reasonable opportunity shall be granted to the appellant of being heard with
reference to the matters of disclosure in compliance with the principles of natural
justice before a final decision is arrived at.
54 The disclosure in terms of the present judgment shall be communicated to
the appellant within one month from the date of this judgment and the appellant
shall be given a period of one month to respond. The officer concerned in charge
PART D
50
of the enquiry shall fix a date for personal hearing before taking a final decision.
The appeals are allowed in the above terms.
55 The judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at
Bombay dated 29 September 2020 is accordingly set aside. In the circumstances
of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.
56 Pending application(s), if any, shall stand disposed of.
…..…..…....…........……………….…........J.
 [Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]
…..…..…....…........……………….…........J.
 [Sanjiv Khanna]
New Delhi;
February 18, 2022

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

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