Following is an important judgment by CIC which says that once the investigation on a tax evasion petition is over, it becomes public information and hence RTI filed to disclose that information cannot be rejected on grounds of that being personal information under Section 8(h) of Right to Information Act.
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Central Information Commission
Dated, the 8th May, 2006
Name of the Appellant: Sh. Bhagat Singh, House No.5879, Block No.4,
Street No.5, Dev Nagar, Karol Bagh,
New Delhi – 110 005.
Name of the Public Authority : Director General of Income Tax
Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, 3rd
floor, ARA Center, E-2 Jhandewalan Extension,
Grounds of Appeal:
The appellant had filed a complaint dated 24.9.2003 against Smt Saroj Nimal,
his wife, regarding Tax Evasion on Rs.10 lakhs to the Department of Income
(Investigation). On 10.11.2005 the appellant filed an application under RTI
asking for the details of the action taken by the Department of Income Tax
on the Tax
Evasion Petition (TEP) filed by him. The CPIO vide his letter dated
informed the appellant that the information could not be made available as
exempt u/s 8 (1)(j), being personal information, the disclosure of which has
relationship to any public activity or interest. The appellant filed his
first appeal on
January 21, 2006 to the Appellate Authority, which upheld the decision of
vide his order dated 3.2.2006.
The appellate authority has observed that the appellant was having a
dispute with the complainee and the complaint made to the Department of
Tax was out of personal grievance. The appellant’s interest in the
was purely of a personal nature and, therefore, the information sought has
relationship with any public activity or interest .
The appellant has, in his appeal to the Commission, stated that he has been
falsely implicated in a dowry case by Smt. Saroj Nimal, in which she has
that an amount of more than Rs.10 lakhs was spent by her on her second
with the appellant. A criminal case against the appellant is pending on the
basis of the
complaint by Smt. Saroj Nimal. The appellant has, therefore, questioned the
her dowry complaint by seeking evidence from Investigation Wing of
Income Tax on sources of income and assets acquired, which has a direct
the capacity of Smt. Saroj Nimal to pay the amount of dowry mentioned above.
appellant has also mentioned that the sources of income and declared assets
expenditure of Smt. Saroj Nimal are not in proportionate to the known or
sources of income by her. The appellant, therefore, requested the CPIO to
him with the details of investigations made by the Directorate of Income Tax
(Investigation) on TEP filed by him.
The appellant has mentioned the reason, as above, for seeking information on
the Tax Evasion Petition (TEP) filed by him against his wife. The aspects of
human relations that may become the reason for seeking information is out of
purview of our mandate. However, the public actions, irrespective of the
such actions, and disclosure of its outcome, fall under the domain of RTI
action taken on TEP has to be examined accordingly.
On the issue of progress report on TEP, it has been observed that:
“Investigations of the complaint on tax evasion by the IT department is a
of the process of identifying the offenders and assessing the extent of tax
them. Until the nature of offence is duly examined and thoroughly
necessary action is taken under the relevant provisions of tax laws, the
investigation report on tax evasion is barred u/s 8(1) (h).
Needless to say, the Department of Income Tax is expected to conduct
investigations fairly and objectively, and that in a transparent manner, so
relevant investigation report could be made public, soon after the taxes due
offenders are recovered”. (Ref. Appeal No.34/IC(A)/06 dated 4th May 2006)
As the investigations on TEP has been conducted by DIT (Inv.), the relevant
report is the outcome of public action, which needs to be disclosed. This,
cannot be exempted u/s 8(1)(j) as interpreted by the appellate authority.
Accordingly, DIT (Investigation) is directed to disclose the report as per
provision u/s 10 (1) & (2), after the entire process of investigation and
if any, is complete in every respect.
The appeal is accordingly disposed off.
(Prof. M.M. Ansari)
Authenticated true copy:
1. Sh. Bhagat Singh, House No.5879, Block No.4, Street No.5, Dev Nagar,
Bagh, New Delhi – 110 005.
2. Sh. S.S. Gandhi, Director General of Income Tax (Investigation),
of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, 3rd floor, ARA Center, E-2 Jhandewalan
Extension, New Delhi.