Committee - Golden Forest (India) Limited

Appointed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India



A.C.No.930 of 2011


In the matter of:


Dev Dutt Sharma S/o Shri Rameshwar,

V.P.O. –Mudlana, Tehsil Gohan,

Distt.- Sonepat (Haryana)                                          …..Appellant




Public Information Officer O/o Chairman Committee-

Golden Forest (I) Ltd., V.P.O.-Jharmari,

Chd-Ambala National Highway, Tehsil-Derabassi,



First Appellate Authority O/o Chairman Committee-

Golden Forest (I) Ltd., V.P.O.- Jharmari,

Chd-Ambala National Highway, Tehsil-Derabassi,

Distt.-Mohali                                                              …..Respondents


Next date of hearing : 14.11.2011




It is respectfully submitted that:-

1.       The Right to Information Act, 2005 and its provisions are not applicable to the Committee – Golden Forests (India) Limited [GFIL], which for the sake of brevity is hereinafter referred to ‘the Committee’.  The Committee is not a ‘public authority’ within the meaning of the expression ‘public authority’ as defined in Section   2(h).  The Committee comprises of a Chairman and two Members and it has been appointed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India with certain directions.  The Committee is not any authority or  body or institution established or constituted by any of the authorities mentioned in sub-clauses (a) to (d) of Section 2(h).  The Committee is not financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the  Central  Government  or  State  Government  and/or Union Territory


          Administration.  For the convenience of the Information Commissioner, the relevant provisions of Section 2(a) and 2(h) are reproduced below:-

                    “2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

(a)      “appropriate Government” means in relation to a public authority which is established, constituted, owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly-

(i)       by the Central Government or the Union territory administration, the Central Government;

(ii)      by the State Government, the State Government.

                              (b) to (g) ………….

                     (h)               “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted-

(a)      by or under the Constitution;

(b)      by any other law made by Parliament;

(c)      by any other law made by State Legislature;

(d)      by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes  any

(i)       body owned, controlled or substantially financed;


(ii)      non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; “

2.       However, it be pointed out that Section 2(e) defines competent authority.   The expression ‘competent authority’ includes the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the High Court.  The relevant part reads as follow:-

          “(e) “competent authority”4  means

                    (i)       ………..

(ii)      the Chief Justice of India in the case of the Supreme Court;

(iii)     the Chief Justice of the High Court in the case of a High Court;

(iv)     ………….

(v)      the administrator appointed under article 239 of the Constitition;”

3.       Section 5 of the Act makes it obligatory on every public authority to appoint Public Information Officer or Public Information Officers.  Section 6 of the Act deals with the request of a person for obtaining information under the Act. Section 7 deals with the disposal of the request for information.  Chapter IV deals with the State Information Commission and it makes obligatory for every State Government to appoint the State Information Commission.

4.       It is submitted that the Chairman of the Committee or any Member has not been designated as Public Information Officer.   Chairman also is not the appellate authority. 


5.       From the above, it would be clear that ‘the Committee’ is not a public authority and therefore not covered by the Right to Information Act, 2005. 

6.       It would be necessary to give briefly the background of the Company Golden Forests (India) Limited.  Golden Forests (India) Limited was registered in the year 1987.  It had a number of subsidiary/sister/associate Companies.  The Golden Group of Companies comprises of registered Companies, registered Societies and registered Trusts.  They were in all 110.  The Golden Group of Companies ran into rough weather in the year 1997 onwards.  There was investigation by the Income Tax authority. Further there was criminal investigation against the Company in the year about 1997.  The Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in the year 1997 appointed a Board to investigate into the affairs of Golden Forests (India) Limited and its other subsidiary/sister/associate concerns.  A two member Committee in its report in January, 1998, in which a number of directions were issued to the Company regarding their introducing fresh schemes of investment and collect funds from the public.  They were directed not to issue any fresh scheme and collect funds.

7.       The Company completely stopped its business in December, 2000.  The directors of the Company viz. Shri R.K.Syal, his father Shri Amrit Lal Syal, his sister Ms. Pamila Syal and his wife Ms. Neena Syal were arrested on December 24, 2000.  As of today except Ms. Pamila Syal others are dead.  Since the year December, 2000 the Company completely stopped business. A number of investors filed petitions in Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court, Bombay High Court, Delhi High Court, Gujarat High Court etc. for winding up of the Company.  The Securities and Exchange Board of India filed a petition  in  the  Hon’ble  Supreme  Court  of  India  for transfer of all


          the cases to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court passed an order in September, 2003 transferring all the cases of Golden Forests (India) Limited to the Hon’ble Supreme Court and their Lordship observed that since conflicting orders could be passed by the various High Courts, the matter should be transferred to the Hon’ble Supreme Court. 

8.       The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India appointed a Committee consisting of a Chairman and two Members with directions for taking over possession of the properties of the Golden Forests (India) Limited and thereafter to sell properties and submit a report to the Hon’ble Supreme Court.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court also passed orders restraining the directors and other servants and officials of the Company from transferring the properties of the Company and also restrained them from withdrawing any amount from the accounts of the Company.  It may be useful to notice here that earlier to the above orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Hon’ble Bombay High Court followed by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the year 1998 had restrained the directors and officials of the Company from alienating properties of the Company.  The Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court had also passed an order to the above effect on 17th August, 2001.  The above order was repeated by Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta in June/July, 2003.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court had constituted a Committee on 19th August, 2004.  The Chairman of the Committee is a retired Chief Justice and other two Members are retired District & Sessions Judges.

8.       On 3rd February, 2010 Hon’ble Supreme Court of India transferred all the cases of the Company Golden Forests (India) Limited to the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.  The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India in the  case  of  Supreme  Court  and  Hon’ble  Chief  Justice  of  High


Court  of  Delhi being ‘competent authority’ within the meaning of Sub Section (e) of Section 2 of the Act have appointed Public Information Officers.  These Public Information Officers could probably be approached for obtaining any information under the Act.  The appellant Shri Dev Dutt Sharma filed an application before the Committee in Form Rule 3(i) to obtain the informati9on regarding the property of Golden Forests (India) Limited.  No application under the Act could be made before the ‘Public Information Officer and Chairman, Committee-Golden Forests (India) Limited’.  As already stated above, the Committee is not covered by the Right to Information Act nor it has any designated Public Information Officer.   Similarly, Shri Dev Dutt Sharma filed an appeal before the (1) First Appellate Authority, (under R.T.I. Act), -in-Chairman Committee – Golden Forests (India) Limited, appointed by Supreme Court of India.   This appeal would not be competent  as ‘the Committee’ has no appellate authority.  It is also submitted with respect that appeal before the State Information Commission, Punjab also is not  legally valid and competent.

9.       It be pointed out that rules under the Right to Information Act, 2005 have been framed by the Punjab Government.  Upon reading of the rules it is clear that under Rule 3 an application for obtaining information has to be filed before the State Public Information Officer along with a fee.  Similarly, the Haryana Government has framed rules for obtaining information under the Act and there also the application is to be made before the Public Information Officer.  The application for information filed before the Committee, and, the subsequent appeal under Section 19(3) of the Act before the ‘the Committee’ are not legal and valid.




10.     It is submitted with respect that the State Information Commission, Punjab has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter.  There being no legal and valid appeal before it.

11.     Next, coming to the merits of the application, the information asked by Shri Dutt in his application to put in his own words is as     follow:-

“3. Particulars of other             :          Whether the following property of Golden Forest (I) Limited are included in the list of property in High Court of Punjab & Haryana Chandigarh or not.

4. Subject matter of                 : List     of    property      is

    Information                            attached with this application/ request.

5. The period of which            :    01.11.2000 to 07.5.2011.


6.  Description of the                :          Whether   the     property

information required             shown in attached list are included in the list of property of Golden Forest (I) Ltd. given in the list of submitted to the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana Court, Chandigarh or not.

                                           ii)          The property shown in attached list are shown in  the  list  given  by  the


                                              Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh to the

                                              Chairman Committee or not.”

12.     The information asked for by Shri Dutt is catchy and not bonafide.  On a reading of the questions it is clear that the property about which information has been sought belongs to Golden Forests (India) Limited.  The property described as 298 sq. yd. situated in Sikka, Delhi Road, Sonipat (Haryana) was purchased by the Company Golden Forests (India) Li8mited from Shri Inderjit and four others for a consideration of Rs.8,00,000/- (Rupees eight lakh only) by three separate registered sale deeds (2 sale deeds registered on 3rd February, 1997 and one sale deed registered on 05.02.1997).  On 30th August, 2000, it is alleged, that the Company Golden Forests (India) Limited through a resolution authorized Shri Satya Prakash Rohilla, resident of Village & Post Office Anwali, District Sonipat (Haryana), who was the agent of the Company to sell and transfer the ground portion of the constructed building measuring 533-1/3 sq. yd. and got the sale registered and further authorized him to appear before the registration authority to sign the documents as a representative of the Company.  On 04.12.2000 Shri R.K.Syal, Chairman, Golden Forests (India) Limited issued a corrigendum stating that in the resolution the area of the property has been wrongly mentioned 533-1/3 sq. yd. and that in fact the area is 298 sq. yd.  owned by the Company.

13.     The other facts that emerged  are that Shri  Satya Prakash on 31.05.2002 executed a general power of attorney in favour of Shri Narinder Kumar s/o Shri Dalip Singh, resident of 70-71, TP Scheme No.15, Delhi Road, Sonipat (Haryana) in respect of the property measuring 533.33 sq. yd.  situated  at  Nihal  Nagar, Sikka  Colony,


          Delhi Road, near Janta Colony, Sonipat.  Shri Satya Prakash also executed  a  Will  in  favour of Shri Narinder Kumar in respect of the

          property mentioned above. On 04.09.2007 Shri Satya Prakash wrote a document canceling both the documents, i.e., general power of attorney and the Will in favour of Shri Nrinder Kumar.  Thereafter on 19.01.2010 Shri Satya Prakash executed an agreement of sale in favour of Shri Dev Dutt Sharma s/o Shri Rameshwar, resident of Mudlana, Tehsil Gohana, District Sonipat (Haryana) in respect of the land measuring 298-1/4 sq. yd. of land pursuant to the resolution dated 30.08.2000 for a consideration of Rs.32,00,000/- (Rupees thirty-two lakh only).

14.     The above explains the reasons behind the information sought by Shri Dev Dutt Sharma.  It be stated that as per the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dated 05.09.2006 and in view of the restraint orders passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts any sale/alienation of properties belonging to Golden Forests (India) Limited after 20th June, 2003 (date of appointment of the Provisional Liquidator by the Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court) and the restraint order dated 17.08.2004 passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court has to be ignored.

15.     It be stated that in the list of properties of the Company filed by the advocates of the petitioners National Investors Forum (C.P.No.20/2001) on 03.07.2003 at serial Nos.92 to 95 there is a mention of the properties of the Company at Sonipat (Haryana).

16.     It is made clear to Shri Dev Dutt Sharma that in view of the various orders passed by the different High Courts and the orders dated 17.08.2004 and 05.09.2006 of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the property in question is in the ownership of Golden Forests (India) Limited.  The Committee through its reply has presented a



          complete picture of the case. The property belongs to the Golden Forests (India) Limited.


R.N. Aggarwal

Chief Justice (Retd.) Delhi High Court

Chairman, Committee-GFIL


Place: Chandigarh                           


Note:  The matter was heard by the State Information Commission, Punjab on 14.11.2011.  The Committee was represented by Shri Abhimanyu Sharma, Advocate and Shri Prashant Chauhan, Advocate.  The appellant Shri Dev Dutt Sharma was present in person along with his counsel.  The matter was heard and dismissed on the ground that the Committee-Golden Forests (India) Limited is not a ‘public authority’ as defined in Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.