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Mumbai, March 1

THE Secutities and Exchange Board of India takes on more than it can chew and is overburdened with work that can be assigned to others, opined Mr Justice Kumar Rajaratnam, Presiding Officer, Securities Appellate Tribunal.

If adjudication on matters with respect to violation of discipline and code of conduct is left to the NSE and the BSE, it will save SEBI a lot of time to deal with more serious acts of misconduct.

Mr Justice Rajaratnam was speaking at the court farewell to Dr B. Samal, Member of the Tribunal, who retired today.

Mr M. Damodaran, Chairman, SEBI, as well as Mr S. Madhukar and Mr G. Anantharaman, Whole-Time Members of SEBI, attended the court farewell.

Dr Samal said that the action on erring players should be swift and heavy and an adjudicating officer must have a judicial approach as the Tribunal has observed that cases commence with maximum penalty as prescribed under the ACT without taking into account all the relevant factors.

Dr Samal also maintained that first time offenders must be approached with compassion. "Consistency in orders is the hallmark of any Regulator. All are equal before the law. Anyone who violates the regulation should not go scot-free. This should be the approach of the people who are watching the developments in the securities market," he further added.

Dr Samal also agreed with Mr Justice Rajaratnam's view on giving greater powers for conducting investigations and taking necessary remedial measures. Mr Justice Rajaratnam added that more serious allegations such as violations under the Prohibition of Fraudulant and Unfair Trade Practices (FUTP) Regulations should remain with SEBI exclusively.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 2, 2005)
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