04 August 2008

SEBI splits investigation and adjudication

The Mint has posted an article on SEBI looking inwards and splitting investigation and adjudication to avoid conflict of interest. It says:
"Capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, has revamped its organizational structure by separating its investigation and adjudication wings, and assigning each to different members of its board. Earlier, both investigation into wrongdoing and adjudication, the legal process where an arbiter reviews evidence and arguments to make a decision, were overseen by former whole-time member G. Anantharaman. But, many market participants saw a conflict of interest in this. The arrangement also potentially weakened the regulator’s adjudication ability, leading to many directives being set aside by the Securities Appellate Tribunal, or SAT, the body that hears appeals against Sebi orders."

This is reading tea leaves.

Conflict of interest does not arise between the investigation and adjudication at the Board level. It occurs when the same officer does investigation and then adjudication - at the officer level, that never happens as the two departments are wholly segregated (and it has never happened in the past as well). I hope to publish a long post explaining the org structure and the role of investigation vs. surveillance vs. adjudication vs. enquiry vs. enforcement vs. other orders passed in a future post. The lingo used is in fact a big mess. To put it briefly, investigation is the fact finding part of the process and adjudication is (one of the) quasi judicial process.

The two were even previously under different members - of course after two members retired, everything fell under a single member viz. Dr. TC Nair. Clearly once the two new members were appointed, they were given various portfolios and this is only a routine assignment. Too much is being read into the move and calling it a revamp is clearly overkill.


Santosh said...

I entirely agrre.
Mint Article is incorrect.
It is not so that all adjuducations emanate from Investigation Department.
Adjudication can be recommended by any Department handling respective areas.

Dr V R Prasad, Vice-President (Legal), Financial Technologies, Mumbai said...

I agree with Sandeep and Santosh. Further, all pink papers now-a-days have a magnifying glass kept infornt of SEBI building. The purpose is to read the news coming out or happenings inside the building with a magnifying lense. Effort is laudable. Perhaps they lost object while using the glass. Papers should verify authenticity and background before throwing news to public eye.-