Tag Archives: RTI

Release broad outline of TEP investigation – CIC !! why IT departments can’t escape when men file TEP

An Appellant  ( probably a son in law ) seeks the results of TEP on one Mr Arjun Kumar (probably a father in law). The IT dept does NOT release the same and the appellant files a RTI and matter reaches CIC

CIC clearly states “It is expected that the AO will communicate to the appellant the broad outcome of the TEP proceedings, without divulging any details, after completion of the investigation. ….” !!

this should help many men fighting against unjust dowry claims by women !!

**********************************************************

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Club Building (Near Post Office)
Old JNU Campus, New Delhi – 110067
Tel: +91-11-26101592
File No. CIC/RM/A/2014/000677/BS/8630
17 September 2015

Relevant Facts emerging from the Appeal:

Appellant  :
Dr. Sanjiv Mahajan
R/o – C-1-117, Lajpat Nagar,
New Delhi – 110024

Respondent :
CPIO / Income Tax Officer (Inv)(Hq)
Income Tax Department
Director of Income tax (Inv), Chandigarh,
Aayakar Bhawan, Sector – 2,
Panchkula – 134112
CPIO /Income Tax Officer
O/o Commissioner of Income Tax
Faridabad (Haryana)

RTI application filed on    :11/06/2013
PIO replied on            :08/07/2013
First appeal filed on         :10/08/2013
First Appellate Authority order    :11/09/2013
Second Appeal dated         :04/01/2014

Information sought: The appellant has sought the following information:-

1. Provide the certified copy of the investigations/assessments are initiated/made on the TEP application dated 23/12/2012 submitted be me.

2. Did Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg explained the source of expenditure amounting to Rs. 20 Lacs on the marriage of his daughter Mr. Reena Garg during the course of enquiry made by the office of CIT? Any other information submitted by him on the source of the above expenditure?

3. Provide certified copy of observation was made by the CIT while recommending the re-opening of the assessment of Mr. XYZ for the Assessment Years (2005-2012) along with copy of the order?

4. Provide certified copy of explanation was offered by Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg about the source of above of   above   said   expenditure   amounting   to   Rs   60-70   lacs   during   the   course   of   re-assessment proceedings before the Income Tax Officer?

5. Provide certified copy of How much income has been re-assessed in the assessment order of Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg as income from un-disclosed sources and the copy of Asst. Order for the last Asst. year 2004-2005.

6. How much Income Tax demand including interest has been created as per notice of demand and also supply the copy of the notice of demand?

7. How much outstanding Income Tax demand has been recovered from Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg?

8. What action has been taken for the recovery of outstanding demand from assessed Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg?

9. Is there any stay order against outstanding Income Tax demand? Copy of the stay order, if any may be supplied.

10. What is the final stage of Income Tax Case of Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg the Asst. Year 2004-2005?

11. Smt. Reena Garg & Sh. Arjun Kumar Garg ever filed any income tax return mentioning the details of source of alleged money and alleged costly items ever given by them in marriagr and after marriage of their daughter as admitted in writing in their list submitted with TEP and also for maintaining other luxuries of life.

12. Whether they have paid income tax and wealth tax on there alleged cash/jewelry expenses.

13. Whether the person mentioned above are liable for any action against them for tax evasion (income tax, wealth tax, etc) as per rule and give the brief details of recovery efforts/punishments that can be awarded for violating the rule in above cases.

14. Intimate the action initiated/taken by your department against the person mentioned above and the amount of Tax recovered/expected to be recovered from them.

15. Provide a copy of the preliminary assessments/investigations.

16. Has Mr. Arjun Kumar Garg preferred any appeal against Asst. Order? What is the status of the appeal and till what time could its disposal be expected?

17. Provide the name and designation of the officer who is providing this information as there is every apprehension that the information being provided to me will not be relevant and will be misleading.

Grounds for the Second Appeal: The CPIO has not provided the desired information.

Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:

The following were present

Appellant:  Dr. Sanjiv Mahajan

Respondent:  Mr. Suresh Kumar CPIO through VC

The appellant stated that he has not received the information sought in his RTI application dated 11/06/2013. The CPIO stated that DGIT (Investigation) is an exempt organization under Section 24 of the RTI Act. He informed that the appellant’s TEP was classified under ‘Z’ category and has been transferred to the CIT Faridabad.

Decision notice:

This Commission in its order dated 18/06/2013 (File No. CIC/RM/A/2012/000926 Sh. Ved Prakash Doda v/s ITO) has held as under:

“6. It has been the stand of the Commission that in respect of a tax evasion petition, once the investigation is completed, the appellant should be informed the broad results of the investigation, without disclosing any details. The appellant has a right to know as to whether the information provided by him was found to be true or false.

7. The Commission accordingly directs the CPIO to provide to the appellant, if investigation has been completed, the broad outcome of the investigation, without divulging any details, within ten days from date of receipt of the order.”

In the matter at hand the TEP has been transferred to the CIT Faridabad. It is expected that the AO will communicate to the appellant the broad outcome of the TEP proceedings, without divulging any details, after completion of the investigation.

The appeal is disposed of accordingly.

BASANT SETH
Information Commissioner

Authenticated true copy:

(R. L. Gupta)
Dy. Registrar/Designated Officer

Applicant to be given Tax evasion investigation results !! Husbands take note !!

Broad results of TEP investigation to be disclosed by IT department to informant, applicant

In this case (decided in 2013), The Honourable CIC has ruled “….6. It has been the stand of the Commission that in respect of a tax evasion petition, once the investigation is completed, the appellant should be informed the broad results of the investigation, without disclosing any details. The appellant has a right to know as to whether the information provided by him was found to be true or false. ….”

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Club Building (Near Post Office)
Old JNU Campus, New Delhi-110067
Tel: +91-11-26105682
File No.CIC/RM/A/2012/000926

Appellant: Shri Ved Prakash Doda, Abohar.

Public Authority: ITO, Ward – 3 & JCIT, Range Sri Ganganagar,  Sri Ganganagar.

Date of Hearing: 18.06.2013

Date of decision: 18.06.2013

Heard today, dated 18.06.2013 through video conferencing.

Appellant is present.

The Public Authority is represented by Shri S.S.Sidhu, ITO Ward-3 Sri Ganganagar.

FACTS

Vide RTI dt 18.4.12, appellant had sought information on action taken on a complaint against Shri  Rajinder  Kumar  filed during Nov-Dec 2011  relating  to tax evasion.

2. CPIO vide letter dt 31.5.12, observed that as per CIC decision, investigation carried out in tax evasion petition of a third party need not be disclosed. Accordingly, information was denied.

3. An appeal was filed on 12.6.12.

4. AA vide order dt 6.7.12, observed that the information sought relate to third party and in the absence of any larger public interest, the information cannot be provided.

5. Submissions made by the appellant and public authority were heard.

DECISION

6. It has been the stand of the Commission that in respect of a tax evasion petition, once the investigation is completed, the appellant should be informed the broad results of the investigation, without disclosing any details. The appellant has a right to know as to whether the information provided by him was found to be true or false.

7. The Commission accordingly directs the CPIO to provide to the appellant, if investigation has been completed, the broad outcome of the investigation, without divulging any details, within ten days from date of receipt of the order.

The appeal is disposed of.

Sd/-
(Rajiv Mathur)
Central Information Commissioner

Authenticated true copy forwarded to:

The ITO & CPIO
O/o the Income Tax Officer
Ward -3, Sri Ganganagar

The JCIT & First Appellate Authority
O/o the Jt. Commissioner of Income Tax
Room No. 04, Range –Sri Ganganagar

Shri Ved Parkash Doda
S/o Sh. Nand Lal Doda, St. No.13
Nal Abadi Choti Pouri Abohar,
Dist. -Fazilka

(Raghubir Singh)
Deputy Registrar
.06.2013

father in-law’s 9 YEAR taxable income 2 be disclosed to son in law fighting dowry case

A husband fighting a dowry case makes an impassioned plea to get his father in law’s taxable income to disprove dowry claims and disprove the FALSE DOWRY CASE.. The Central information commissioner goes thru a large number of relevant cases, the RTI act, the Income tax act and finally decides in favour of the husband (son – in – law) accused !!

The CIC orders as follows “……….We direct the CPIO to furnish the information pertaining to the net taxable income of Shri Munna Lal Saini, the father­in­law of the Appellant, for the period of year 2000 till 15.09.2009 ( i.e. the date of the Appellant’s RTI Application) to the Appellant within 10 days.……”

*********************** CIC decision from the RTI website ********************

Central Information Commission
Room No.296, II Floor, B Wing, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi­110066
Telefax: 011­26180532 & 011­26107254
website ­cic.gov.in

Appeal : No. CIC/LS/A/2010/001044­DS

Appellant /Complainant : Sh. Manoj Kumar Saini, Jaipur

Public Authority : The Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Jaipur (Sh.Amrit Meena, CPIO – through Videoconferencing)

Date of Hearing : 03 Jan, 2011

Date of Decision : 24 March, 2011

FACTS OF THE CASE:

1. Vide his RTI Application dated 15.09.2009, the Applicant sought information pertaining to income tax returns of his father­in­law for the period 2000 to date along with the information pertaining to process for initiating tax evasion petition.

2. The CPIO vide his order dated 06.10.2009 denied disclosure of information citing the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005 (hereinafter “the Act”). Information was provided pertaining to the process of submitting tax evasion petition.

3. The Applicant preferred appeal dated 13.10.2009 before the FAA who adjudicated upon it vide his order of 06.11.2009 by upholding the order of the CPIO and dismissing the appeal.

4. The Applicant has come before this Commission in second appeal. The Appellant made an impassioned plea for disclosure of information sought by him on the grounds that he was a young man who is involved in defending himself in a criminal case against the State of Rajasthan pertaining to dowry related issues. He emphasized that the litigation was not a private matter against his wife / father­in­law and therefore, the denial of information could not be justified on the grounds that there was no public interest in the matter and that the issue was purely a personal one. The Appellant stated that in a welfare state, such as ours, the life and security of every individual was a matter which involved the state. Denial of information to him would result in a prolonged litigation of 10 years and more resulting in his losing the best years of his life and career.

5. Respondent stated that he had ascertained that Shri Munna Lal Saini does not file any income tax returns in this income tax office – Ward 3(1). Appellant stated that with the issue of PAN card which is a unique number, it will not be difficult to ascertain in which ward Shri Saini was filing his returns.

DECISION NOTICE:

6. I have carefully considered the submissions made by the Appellant with great thrust and also by the Respondents.

7. The conviction and thrust with which the Appellant had pursued his case and made his submission explaining the reasons for which he needs the information are plausible. But, however unfortunate as it may seem, the noise of motivation behind seeking the information falls upon deaf ears as far as the Act is concerned. Section 6(2) of the Act clearly states that the Applicant shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information. Thus, the Act does not aim to judge the motivation or the reason behind seeking certain information, as each applicant may have a different line of reasoning, each one being equally passionate and emotionally driven.

8. What, in fact, matters is whether certain information which has been sought can actually be furnished under the Act. The information has been classified as either public information or personal information under the Act. There is no question of doubt whatsoever that every public information need be furnished upon receiving a request to that effect. However, in case of personal information, the Act stands on a different footing, and the present appeal before us is the best example of that. The Applicant has to satisfy the legislative intent enshrined in Sections 8(1)(j) of the Act which mandates the requirement of “larger public interest” that can justify the disclosure of such personal information.

9. Section 8(1)(j) of the Act is as follows:

      8.
      ( 1 ) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there
      shall be no obligation to give any citizen,-
      
      XXX XXX XXX
      
      XXX XXX XXX
      
      ( j ) 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. “

10. Now I shall deal with each of the respective contentions raised by the Appellant in the appeal before me.

11. The Appellant has contended that the information pertaining to the Income Tax returns filed by his father­ in­law is an information within the ambit of Proviso to Section 8(1)(j), i.e. those IT returns cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature. Here, we look towards the enlargement of intent of this proviso by Hon’ble Sanjiv Khanna J. in his decision dated 30.11.2009 in Writ Petition (Civil) Nos.. 8396/2009, 16907/2006, 4788/2008, 9914/2009, 6085/2008, 7304/2007, 7930/2009 AND 3607 OF 2007, wherein he stated “ The proviso in the present cases is a guiding factor and not a substantive provision which overrides Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. It does not undo or rewrite Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act and does not itself create any new right. The purpose is only to clarify that while deciding the question of larger public interest i.e. the question of balance between ‘ public interest in the form of right to privacy and ‘public interest in access to information is to be balanced.” It is now apposite to peruse through Section 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961), which is as follows:

“ Section 138 -DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION RESPECTING ASSESSEES.

      (1)
      
      (a) The Board or any other income-tax authority specified by it
      by a general or special order in this behalf may furnish or
      cause to be furnished to –
      
      (i) Any officer, authority or body performing any functions
      under any law relating to the imposition of any tax, duty or
      cess, or to dealings in foreign exchange as defined in section
      2(d) of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 (7 of 1947); or
      
      (ii) Such officer, authority or body performing functions under
      any other law as the Central Government may, if in its opinion
      it is necessary so to do in the public interest, specify by
      notification in the Official Gazette in this behalf, any such
      information received or obtained by any income-tax authority in
      the performance of his functions under this Act as may, in the
      opinion of the Board or other income-tax authority, be necessary
      for the purpose of enabling the officer, authority or body to
      perform his or its functions under that law.
      
      (b) Where a person makes an application to the Chief
      Commissioner or Commissioner in the prescribed form for any
      information relating to any assessee received or obtained by
      any income-tax authority in the performance of his
      functions under this Act, the Chief Commissioner or
      Commissioner may, if he is satisfied that it is in the
      public interest so to do,  furnish or cause to
      be furnished the information asked for and his decision in this
      behalf shall be final and shall not be called in question in any
      court of law.
      
      (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) or
      any other law for the time being in force, the Central
      Government may, having regard to the practices and usages
      customary or any other relevant factors, by order notified in
      the Official Gazette, direct that no information or document
      shall be furnished or produced by a public servant in respect of
      such matters relating to such class of assesses or except to
      such authorities as may be specified in the order. ”

12. The legislative mandate is absolutely clear on the front that the Income Tax Returns of an assessee are held by the Chief Commissioner, Income Tax only and such cannot be accessed by any other body or authority except when the Chief Commissioner himself is of the opinion that such returns be furnished to a third party in light of public interest. In R. K. Jain Vs. Union of India (1993) 4 SCC 120 it was held that factors to decide the public interest immunity would include (a) where the contents of the documents are relied upon, the interests affected by their disclosure; (b) where the class of documents is invoked, whether the public interest immunity for the class is said to protect; (c) the extent to which the interests referred to have become attenuated by the passage of time or the occurrence of intervening events since the matter contained in the documents themselves came into existence; (d) the seriousness of the issue in relation to which the production is sought; (e) the likelihood that production of the documents will affect the outcome of the case; (f) the likelihood of the injustice if the documents are not produced……” It was further stated “The courts would allow the objection if it finds that the documents relates to the affairs of the state and its disclosure would be injurious to the public interest, but on the other hand, if it reaches the conclusion that the document does not relate to the affairs of state or that the public interest does not compel its non­disclosure or that the public interest in the administration of justice in the particular case before it overrides all other aspects of public interest, it will overrule the objection and order disclosure of the document”. I am inclined to say that the information sought is not granted immunity from disclosure as class of information. Protection of disclosure has to be ensured by balancing the two competing aspects of public interest i.e. when disclosure would cause injury or unwarranted invasion of privacy and on the other hand if non­disclosure would throttle the administration of justice.

13. It brings me to the second contention of the Appellant which revolves around the concept of “larger public interest”. According to the Appellant, the “State” is pursuing a criminal case against him and that since “State” has decided to prosecute him because of legal fiction created under Section 405 of IPC, automatically a “larger public interest” is involved in the matter. Section 405 of the IPC states that “ Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property, or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged, or of any legal contract, express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or willfully suffers any other person so to do, commits ‘criminal breach of trust’.” Dowry Cases invariably have the component of ‘Criminal Breach of Trust’ relating to misappropriation of property. In case, the State relies upon the fiction of misappropriation, then the other party should have a right to know the details of property reflected in IT Returns which is alleged to be misappropriated.

14. The mandate of the RTI Act to disclose personal information under Section 8(1)(j) is even stricter since it appends the expression “larger” to “public interest”. Mere public interest will not suffice in the disclosure of personal information such as the IT Returns of an assessee unless the Applicant can prove that a “larger” public interest demands such disclosure. The expression “larger” cannot be defined or carved into a straight­ jacketed formula and neither can it be easily disposed of. If the Applicant incessantly stresses on the argument that false dowry cases are a matter of “larger public interest” and that the information relating to IT returns of his father­in­law be furnished to him, then an equally challenging rebuttal could be that the Income Tax Act, which defines the procedure of disclosure of such IT Returns to him, is a public policy which has been enacted by the State keeping in mind the larger good of the society. It is not the case of the Respondents that objection to disclosure of the documents is taken on the ground that it belongs to a class of documents which are protected irrespective of their contents, because there is no absolute immunity for documents belonging to such class.

15. In my view, having assessed the factual situation and the legal reasoning at hand, the correct position of law is that the right forum for seeking the IT Returns of an assessee by a third person is either the Chief Commissioner, Income Tax or the Concerned Court, if the matter is sub­judice. My view is furthered by the fact that the position after the repealing of Section 137 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 by Finance Act, 1964 is that the Court in a sub­judice matter can direct the IT Authorities to furnish the information pertaining to IT Returns of an assessee for inspection by the Court. Thus, disclosure will be warranted if such line of action is followed. There is no absolute ban on disclosure of IT returns.

16. Since, the present appeal raises important questions of law; it is our duty to apply the law as it stands today. In SP Gupta vs. UOI ([1982] 2 SCR 365), a seven judges bench of the Apex Court held that “ the Court would allow the objection to disclosure if its finds that the document relates to affairs of State and its disclosure would be injurious to public interest, but on the other hand, if it reaches the conclusion that the document does not relate to the affairs of State or the public interest does not compel its non­disclosure or that the public interest in the administration of justice in a particular case overrides all other aspects of public interest, it will overrule the objection and order the disclosure of the documents. ” It was further held that “ in balancing the competing interest, it is the duty of the Court to see that there is the public interest that harm shall not be done to the nation or public service by disclosure of the document and there is a public interest that the administration of justice shall not be frustrated by withholding the documents which must be produced if justice is to be done. ”

17. In light of the above view taken by the Apex Court, I am inclined to make an observation in this case. I have already discussed the settled point of law regarding public interest but it is in the pursuance of the principle of that public interest only where we feel that the information pertaining to net taxable income of an assessee for the period of year 2000 till date be furnished by following the Section 10 of the RTI Act to his Income Tax Returns. We shall distinguish the present case from the decision of the CIC in the case of Milap Choraria vs. Central Board of Direct Taxes (Appeal No. CIC/AT/A/2008/00628) as decided on 15.06.2009 and in the case of P.R. Gokul vs. Commissioner, Income Tax, Kottayaam (CIC/AT/A/2007/00405) decided on 15.06.2007. The Milap Choraria Case (supra) did not deal with the issue of information pertaining to net taxable income per se while the Gokul Case (supra) was not centered around the issue of larger public interest for the purpose of disclosure of net taxable income, unlike the present case. In S.P. Gupta case (Supra), Supreme Court stated “The language of the provision is not a static vehicle of ideas and as institutional development and democratic structures gain strength, a more liberal approach may only be in larger public interest.”

18. We direct the CPIO to furnish the information pertaining to the net taxable income of Shri Munna Lal Saini, the father­in­law of the Appellant, for the period of year 2000 till 15.09.2009 ( i.e. the date of the Appellant’s RTI Application) to the Appellant within 10 days.

19. The Appeal is accordingly disposed of.

(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Information Commissioner (DS)

Authenticated true copy:
(T. K. Mohapatra)
Dy. Registrar

Copy to:­

1. Sh. Manoj Kumar Saini
Plot No. 69, Adarsh Krishna Nagar,
l Kartarpura,
Jaipur­302006

2. The Central Public Information Officer
The Chief Commissioner of Income Tax
O/o the Commissioner of Income Tax
Ward 3(1) , Jaipur

3. The Appellate Authority
Addl. Commissioner of Income Tax,
Range.3 Ward 3(1 ), Jaipur.

IF you thought only husband’s and elders got arrested on false charges …. think again …

NAPM says builder mafia behind arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy
July 18, 2011 05:15 PM |
Moneylife Digital Team

National Alliance of People’s Movements considers protest petition to the government for targeting Mr Shenoy who had filed complaint on slum rehabilitation scam

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) will send a petition to the government, protesting against the arrest of RTI activist Kamlakar Shenoy last week. Mr Shenoy was arrested by Vasai police on Saturday evening, at Dadar, and he has been remanded for three days police custody. He has been arrested on two-year-old complaint by a builder under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

Activists have alleged that Mr Shenoy’s arrest is the handiwork of a builder mafia that is pressurising the Maharashtra government to withdraw the resolution that was promulgated after a nine-day fast by Ms Medha Patkar for an independent inquiry into scams related to slum rehabilitation projects. NAPM says Shivalik Ventures, a construction company, is behind Mr Shenoy’s arrest, as he had blown the lid off the Golibar land scam in which the company is alleged to have been involved.

Mr Shenoy had exposed that Shivalik had flouted several rules in 150 buildings, cheated CIDCO of Rs2 crore in revenue and had illegally encroached on the firing range of the Indian Air Force in Golibar. Shivalik had stated that the land never belonged to the army and it had approached the government for a no-objection certificate to start construction on a land area of 62 acres.

After Mr Shenoy lodged a complaint before the Magistrate’s Court, Shivalik’s proprietor Ramakant Jadhav filed a complaint under the Prevention of Atrocities Act against Mr Shenoy, alleging that the company was being harassed wrongfully. Acting on Mr Shenoy’s complaint, in August 2010 the court issued summons to 11 people from the management of Shivalik Ventures, the Nallasopara Municipal Corporation, having found prima facie evidence against them.

Mr Shenoy was arrested on Saturday in relation to this 2008 case, for which the police have failed to come up with any evidence. “We would also like to point out that there are hundreds of cases of atrocities against Dalits and adivasis across Maharashtra by the land mafia. It is against such people that the Atrocities Act should actually be used,” said NAPM spokesperson Santosh Daundkar.

“Meanwhile, we are trying to get him bail”, Mr Daundkar said. “We will definitely go forward with a petition. But whether or not a formal protest will be launched will be decided only after Mr Shenoy is released.”

Mr Shenoy is currently in a police lock-up at Vasaigaon Police Station.

Source
http://moneylife.in/article/78/18189.html