Information regarding officers against whom Show Cause notice had been issued by the TDS Officer under Income Tax Act - CIC: Appellant was not present to contest the submissions of the Respondent or to establish the larger public interest in disclosure
O R D E R
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 08 points regarding name of the officers against whom Show Cause notice had been issued by the TDS Officer Circle-3, Srinagar since 2012 (year-wise) under Section 201 (1)/ 201 (IA) of the IT Act, 1961 on account of short deduction of TDS from payment made on account of Professional Charges u/s 194J of the IT Act, 1961 and non-deduction of tax at source from payments made under the Head Salary (Section 192 of the IT Act, 1961) and issues related thereto. Dissatisfied due to non-receipt of reply from the CPIO, the Appellant approached the FAA. The reply of the CPIO or the order of the FAA, if any, is not available on the records of the Commission.
Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Respondent: Mr. Kapil Kishore, CPIO/ITO (TDS), Srinagar through VC;
The Appellant remained absent during the hearing. The Respondent informed the Commission that the RTI application received in their office on 12.05.2016 had been replied on 25.07.2016 after verification of records. Another RTI application of similar nature was also received on 21.09.2016 and replied the same day. The First Appeal filed by the Appellant was to have been filed in the jurisdictional office at Ludhiana. It was ascertained that no such First Appeal had been received by them. During the hearing, the Commission was informed that point wise reply as per their record had been furnished to the Appellant. The Commission was also informed that the Appellant was working in the Passport Office and was habitual of seeking information on such matters without explicit public interest in this regard. The Commission referred to the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commission & ors. SLP(C) No. 27734 of 2012 dated 03/10/2012 wherein it was held as under:
“13......The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”
The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the case of Union Public Service Commission v. Dr. Mahesh Mangalat (Date of Decision: 17th March, 2015) (W.P.(C) No. 7431/2011) had held:-
“19. It is a settled law that for seeking personal information regarding any employee of the public authority the applicant must disclose a “sustainable public interest”. Even Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act was enacted to ensure that all information furnished to public authorities including personal information is not given free access to. As per this Section unless the CPIO or the State PIO or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies, the disclosure of any such information that invades the privacy of an individual is not permissible.”
The Appellant was not present to contest the submissions of the Respondent or to establish the larger public interest in disclosure which outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by the Respondent, no further intervention of the Commission is required in the matter. The Appeal stands disposed accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Bipin Kumar v. Office of the Income Tax Officer Srinagar in Appeal No.:-CIC/DITIN/A/2017/178317-BJ, Date of Decision: 15.01.2018