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Matrimonial Dispute – TEP investigation details to complainant

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place
New Delhi-110066, website:cic.gov.in

Appeal No.:-CIC/DOREV/A/2016/300616-BJ

Appellant : Mr. Birjesh Verma,

Respondent : CPIO
Income Tax Officer, Ward-2(2),Faridabad

Date of Hearing : 13.10.2017
Date of Decision : 13.10.2017

Date of filing of RTI application 14.03.2016
CPIO’s response 22.04.2016
Date of filing the First Appeal 17.05.2016
First Appellate Authority’s response 06.06.2016
Date of diarised receipt of second appeal by the Commission 23.08.2016

O R D E R

FACTS:

The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 10 points regarding his Tax Evasion Petition (TEP) dated 02.02.2016 against Mr. Rajender Singh Soni and the subsequent communication by him with the Respondent Department and vice versa, etc.

The CPIO and ITO, Ward 2 (2), vide its letter dated 22.04.2016, denied disclosure of information as per Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 on the ground that it was personal information of a third party. Dissatisfied by the response of the CPIO, the Appellant approached the FAA. The FAA, vide its order dated 06.06.2016, concurred with the response of the CPIO and stated that the information was not sought by the Appellant in Larger Public Interest. It was further stated that the information sought by the Appellant pertained to personal information of the concerned tax payee which was subject to confidentiality u/s 138 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and that Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005 stipulated that personal information, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual cannot be disclosed. A reference was also made to the decision 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.

HEARING:

Facts emerging during the hearing:
The following were present:
Appellant: Mr. Birjesh Verma through VC;
Respondent: Mr. Sanjay Kumar Choudhary, Inspector;

The Appellant reiterated the contents of his RTI application and stated that no satisfactory response had been provided to him in respect of the TEP filed by him. The Respondent informed the Commission that he had been consistently informing the Appellant that the inquiry in the matter was in progress and that for registering the TEP the approval of the Competent Authority had not been received, as yet. During the hearing, it was conveyed that he had been repeatedly requesting his superior officers for grant of approval in respect of the TEP but no reply was forthcoming. In a series of letters sent to the Appellant, the aforesaid position had been communicated to him. It was also explained that the Appellant had been filing a number of RTI applications on the same subject and it was a subject of matrimonial dispute which is subjudice in the Family Court as also the High Court. The inquiry in the matter was in progress and certain other confidential details could not be disclosed keeping in view the sensitivities of the matter. The Appellant repeatedly emphasized that he should be informed of the outcome of the investigation in respect of the TEP filed by him.

In its written submission dated 03.10.2017, the Appellant stated that a complaint was filed with the income Tax Department, Faridabad regarding government revenue loss with proof of tax evasion. In order to get the broad outcome and action taken on the said complaint, he had filed an RTI application to Ward 2 (2), Faridabad on 14.03.2016 to get some basic information related to the above Tax Evasion Petition. However, the PIO gave an incorrect reply after 39 days and didn’t provide the broad outcome or action taken report. The FAA also did not provide any satisfactory reply. Hence he preferred to file the Second Appeal/ Complaint with the CIC. It was submitted that there was deliberate delay by the Respondent in disposing this TEP application sine it was not disposed even as on date after 615 days of filing. A reference was also made to page 30-34 of the Manual of Office Procedure, Vol. III, February, 2003 issued by the Directorate of Income Tax, Department of Revenue, Government of India as per which TEP relating to prima facie concealment of less than fifty lakh rupees was placed in Category ‘Z’ and was required to be disposed off within a period of one year. It was also submitted that there should be a definite time frame within which the investigation was required to be concluded where after the broad outcome thereof was to be communicated to the Complainant. A reference was also made to the decisions of the Commission in CIC/SB/C/2016/900232-BJ dated 14.02.2017 CIC/DS/A/2011/003539 dated 19.03.2012 in support of his contentions.

The Commission observed that the Appellant was entitled to know the broad outcome of the tax evasion petition filed by him as soon as the investigation was completed. In this context a reference can be made to the order of the Commission dated 18/06/2013 (File No. CIC/RM/A/2012/000926 Sh. Ved Prakash Doda v/s ITO) wherein it was 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.”

DECISION
:

Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, the Commission instructs the Respondent to disclose the broad outcome of the investigation to the Appellant as soon as the investigation is completed.

The Appeal stands disposed with the above direction.

(Bimal Julka)
Information Commissioner

Authenticated True Copy:
(K.L.Das)
Deputy Registrar

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