Copy of certificate of registration u/s 12A were sought by a Trust - CIC: Issues raised in the Appeal cannot be adjudicated upon within the confines of the RTI Act; PIO cannot be compelled to provide such information which does not exist in their records
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 05.10.2020 seeking the following information:
“(a) The Trust is in possession of the Registration Certificate Ws 800 bearing No. P-165/1-1- 165182-83 dated 25/0811982 and subsequent renewed NG Certificate bearing No. P-165/1-1- 165/84-85 dated 06104/1984 issued by the then Commissioner of Income Tax, Pune. Thereafter the Jurisdiction has been transferred to yourself. The above certificates have been issued only on the basis of the 12A Certificate. It is requested to provide certified copy of the 12A Certificate.”
The CPIO replied to the appellant on 14.10.2020 stating as follows:-
02. "The Trust is in possession of the Registration Certificate u/s 80G bearing No.165/H/82-83 dated 25.08.1982 and subsequent renewed 80G certificate bearing No. P-165/H-165/84-85 dated 06.04.1984 issued by the then Commissioner of Income tax, Pune. Thereafter, the jurisdiction has been transferred to yourself. The above certificates have been issued only on the basis of 12A certificate. It is requested to provide certified copy of. the 12A certificate."
03 The applicant has sought for copy of certificate of registration u/s 12A on the basis of a copy of approval u/s 80G dated 25.08.1982, without giving any details of registration u/s 12A viz. issuing authority, date of issue, registration number, etc. In this regard the available data of this office has been verified and it is seen that no such certificate was issued by this office from 15.11.20'14 onwards, i.e the date of commencement of CIT(Exemptions), Pune.
04 The applicant wants the copy of 12A certificate issued to 'Mumbra Shikshan Prasarak Mandal' in the past. But in absence of any specified details of the certificate number, date and issuing authority, the information cannot be supplied since this charge came into existence only in the year 2014. In view of the above, it is seen that the applicant has not given details of the information required. In absence of the same, the information cannot be supplied.
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 02.11.2020. FAA’s order dated 27.11.2020 upheld the reply of CPIO.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Represented by CA Rohan through video conference.
Respondent: Sunil Mehetre, ITO (HQ) (Exemptions) & CPIO present through video conference.
The Rep. of the Appellant stated that since the Trust has misplaced the 12 A certificate, a certified copy of the same was sought for based on the 80G certificate issued to the Trust for the period from 1982-1984, which the Appellant believes is sufficient to prove that the 12A certificate was issued. He further explained that the jurisdictional Commissioner who had issued the 12A certificate has ceased to exist and there has been multiple restructuring of the jurisdictional commissioner since then, while as on date the CIT(Exemptions), Pune being the concerned authority, the information was sought for from the said office.
Upon a query from the Commission, the Rep. of the Appellant added that upto the year 2010, the trust was regularly assessed so there was no issue but since the main Trustee expired, the records could not be traced and the trust was assessed in the year 2017 for the entire block after which the exemption of the trust has been disallowed since 2011 and they are being asked to file a copy of the 12A certificate.
The Commission observes from a perusal of the facts on record and from the averments of the parties that the issues raised in the Appeal or the relief that is being sought for cannot be adjudicated upon within the confines of the RTI Act as the CPIO cannot be compelled to provide such information which does not exist in their records.
Nonetheless, taking a liberal view in the matter, the CPIO is directed to put in his best efforts to ascertain if the issuing authority of the 12A certificate can be traced from the details mentioned in the 80G certificate provided by the Trust and provide the Appellant with the available information. At the same time, the Appellant is also advised to provide due assistance to the CPIO, if and when required. The CPIO is directed to file a compliance report with the Commission stating the steps taken by him to resolve the grievance of the Appellant within 45 days from the date of receipt of this order.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Sunil Gorakh Patil v. O/o the Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemptions) in File No : CIC/CCITP/A/2020/695966, Date of Decision: 30/03/2022