The Supreme Court today granted an extension of time till August to the Securities and Exchange Board of India to conclude its investigation and file a status report before them regarding allegations of stock price manipulation by the Adani group and lapses in regulatory disclosure. The Bench also asked the Court Constituted Expert Committee to continue assisting and consider the further suggestions made.

The Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala in its order noted, "The Expert Committee has submitted a report bearing in mind the timeline of two months stipulated in the order of this Court constituting the committee. In order to enable the Court to analyse the report and reflect on the suggestions which have been made by the Exper Committee, the proceedings shall be listed after the summer recess on 11th July 2023."

The Bench further noted, "The Expert Committee is requested to continue to assist the Court. The Committee may hold further deliberations in the meantime. The Committee would be requested to take up any further aspects or suggestions as may be formulated by the Court, following the course of deliberations when the proceedings are next listed for hearing. Copies of the report of the expert committee shall be made available to the parties to enable them to assist the Court in the course of further deliberation. The registry shall take steps accordingly."

The Supreme Court further directed that "SEBI is granted an extension of time till 14th August 2023 to submit its report."

Appearing for the SEBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta urged the Court to consider granting extension of time. The SG said, "Only my request is, I am reiterating the period of six months was compressed by us taking a realistic view of the matter. Lordships may re-consider the August deadline".

The CJI orally observed, "Tell us what you have done, we have already granted you two months, now we have further granted you an extension of 3 months which makes it 5 months. Effectively you are asking for six months, we have granted you five, we are not granting you an indefinite extension of time. If there is genuine difficulty you let us know."

The CJI further said that, "We could have given you time right now till the 30th of September, alternatively, you tell us on an affidavit by the 15th of August what is the position, then we shall see. We have not specifically dealt with each individual issue but we have said that you will give us an updated status report on the course of the investigation which will also cover the issue which is being raised by the petitioner."

Appearing for the Petitioner, Advocate Prashant Bhushan told the Bench,"We have responded to the SEBI application that SEBI has been investigating Adani for many years not just in one particular investigation but 2016 investigation and also 2021 in response to a question and answers in Parliament." Continuing he said that the minister stated that the SEBI has investigated Adani Companies and that SEBI should put down on record as to what has happened to all those investigations which they had been undertaking since 2016. Bhushan also added that "there is clearly an attempt to shield Adani Company."

Petitioner-in-person, Advocate Vishal Tiwari told the Court that "I am only for the extension of time and I am opposing that under Section 11(c) of the SEBI Act, they have not even apprised the Court of whom they have appointed for the investigations". He further added that "on imaginative grounds, an extension of time cannot be sought and in Para 17 of their reply they are saying that actual time is needed of 15 Months but we will do in 6 months if they can do in 6 then they should do it in a period of one month."

The SG Mehta submitted,"I will confine myself to the facts, I cannot go here and there being a regulator. SEBI has the wherewithal and we are working on it. So far as the confusion created because of this, you pick up something in 2016 and 2020 and connect it with the present issue which is arising out of the Hindenburg report. 2016 is something completely different, distinct and separate and whatever investigations were taken against the particular company till now are out of remit."

Considering the arguments made, the CJI observed, "We are dealing with the fallout of the Hinderburg report, the purpose of these proceedings is not for us for any public interest petitioner to conduct a roving enquiry."


The Supreme Court on March 2, 2023, had constituted an expert committee of five members headed by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre to "suggest measures to (i) strengthen the statutory and/or regulatory framework; and (ii) secure compliance with the existing framework for the protection of investors." and to "investigate whether there has been a regulatory failure in dealing with the alleged contravention of laws pertaining to the securities market in relation to the Adani Group or other companies".

The Court had also directed the SEBI to continue with its ongoing investigation and further investigate the issues raised in the present batch of petitions. The SEBI was directed to expeditiously conclude the investigation within two months and file a status report. The SEBI had to also apprise the expert committee of the action that it has taken in furtherance of the directions of this Court as well as the steps that it has taken in furtherance of its ongoing investigation.

Recently, the SEBI had moved an application in the Apex Court seeking six more months for ascertaining possible violations related to misrepresentation of financials, circumvention of regulations, and/or fraudulent nature of transactions, and completing the exercise. The said application was opposed by the Petitioner Vishal Tiwari by stating that the SEBI has already got sufficient time to inspect, examine, collect and seize relevant documents. Tiwari had stated that even before the court ordered a probe, SEBI stated it had already begun the investigation.

Cause Title: Vishal Tiwari v. Union of India & Ors. (Batch of Pleas) [Writ Petition (C) No. 162 of 2023]