Can the outcome of Tax Evasion Petition be disclosed to a third party under RTI?
The appellant had filed a complaint with the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (IT) against three people. Later he filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information on action taken on his complaint and lapses in assessment of their TEPs. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information stating that it was third party information and exempted from disclosure under sections 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) referred to its previous judgment where it was observed that blanket ban on disclosure of information regarding the action taken on tax evasion complaints may not always be in the best interest of the state revenue. The enthusiasm of the information givers may be adversely affected as information givers are generally keen to know whether the information provided by them has been of some value to the authorities or not. The Commission directed the PIO disclose the broad outcome of the TEP to the appellant, however, full details of investigation are not required to be disclosed.
Citation: Mr. Navneet Singhania v. CCIT in File No. CIC/DS/A/2011/003295/RM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/869
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