Sebi to provide greater clarity to justify quantum of fines

To ensure greater transparency, market regulator Sebi has started providing additional clarity in its orders to justify the quantum of penalties imposed for defaults and other violations.

Sebi, which can levy penalties of up to Rs 25 crore or three times any ill-gotten gains (whichever is higher), has decided that its adjudicating officers would clearly mention the mitigating factors in their orders to justify the fines they impose for violation of norms, official sources said.

The decision was taken as part of efforts to streamline the interpretation of the monetary penalty provisions under securities laws. Besides, opinions given by the Attorney General on this issue were also taken into account.

Sebi's decision follows instances where the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) had asked the regulator to justify the quantum of penalty imposed. There have been cases when SAT has set aside or modified the penalty imposed by Sebi and the move is helped at improving the chances of a penalty standing legal scrutiny.

Besides, it would help bring in greater transparency in the enforcement actions of the capital markets regulator.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) can impose penalties for failure to furnish information, fraudulent and unfair trade practices, and defaults.

In most cases, the penalty is Rs 1 lakh for each day of failure, subject to a maximum of Rs 1 crore. For insider trading, the fine can go up to Rs 25 crore.

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