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Proceedings cannot be compounded in absence of consent of SEBI: Bombay HC

December 1, 2018[2018] 100 121 (Bombay)

SEBI : SEBI cannot be compelled to concede for allowing compounding application

• Section 24A indeed stipulates that notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure any offence punishable under the SEBI Act not being an offence punishable imprisonment only or with imprisonment or also with fine may either before or after the institution of any proceedings be compounded by Securities Appellate Tribunal or Court before which such proceedings are pending. The interpretation of the said provision would not mean that whenever an application is preferred by the accused such offences has to be compounded or that the prosecution agency cannot oppose such an application. It would also not mean that the prosecuting agency viz SEBI can be compelled to concede for allowing compounding application.

• Whether a dispute should be resolved or whether the wider public interest in ensuring regulatory compliance requires that proceedings should be initiated and if initiated should be followed to that logical conclusion is the matter falls within the discretion of SEBI or a person who apprehends that action will be initiated by SEBI has no vested right to insist that the dispute be resolved in terms of consensual settlement.Acting as a regulator of the securities market decisions taken by SEBI impact upon the economy and financial stability. SEBI is vested with statutory powers in the public interest and the exercise of power must, therefore ,be guided by the public interest that SEBI is vested with the power to protect.Thus,SEBI being the regulatory authority or the statutory authority ,it cannot be said that the proceedings can be compounded in the absence of the consent of SEBI.

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