First Appeal under 19 (1) of RTI Act, 2005
First appellate authority (Find correct Name/address)
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Subject: First Appeal for the Order dated 08/01/2018 of CPIO/ITO for the case
Honourable Sir/ Madam,
The appellant is constrained to file a First Appeal u/s 19 (1) of RTI Act to your esteemed office against not providing information by CPIO
The brief FACTS of this matter are:-
- That the appellant filed Tax Evasion Petition along with Request for Information to Principal commissioner of income tax and cc to DGIT (Inv.) on 13.11.2017. Copy of same is attached as ANNEXURE 1
- That on 19.12.2017the appellant filed RTI to CPIO. A copy of the same is attached as ANNEXURE-2.
- That on 11.01.2018 the appellant received the order dated 08.01.2018 of the concerned CPIO which evaded providing me any useful information of my application requested. (Attached CPIO replies as ANNEURE 3)
My grounds for the appeal are as follows:
- BECAUSE, the CPIO has failed to provide the appellant the specific information requested despite the fact that RTI application transferred from Principal Commissioner of income tax office mentioning that all required information is present with this department and despite the appellant depositing the fees he was required to do so.
- BECAUSE,Ms. <Knife name>D/o <FIL name>admitted an expenditure of Rs.24 lacs (Rs 20 lacs –Marriage Expenditure and Rs 4 Lacs – Cash as Dowry) by her parents in her own submission to Crime Against Women Cell, I P Extension, Patparganj, New Delhi in financial year 2015-2016. Since total expenditure of Rs 24 lacs has been claimed to have been spent by my in-laws, so it is a natural curiosity that what the source of fund was.
- THAT Mr. <FIL name> is a retired govt. employee claiming to be surviving on a meagre pension and who has already married off his two more daughters before Ms. <Knife name>and to best of my knowledge he deposited 10 lacs cash in his Bank account in the financial year 2014-2015. He also received a notice from Income tax department in the month of August 2017 wherein a reply was sought from Mr. <FIL name> regarding this transaction. During same time period (2014) he also bought his current residential house at cost of Rs 50 lacs.
- Since total expenditure of Rs 24 lacs has been claimed by in-laws, so it is a natural curiosity that what was the source of fund, since disclosure of the source of money will clear doubts of Black Money and corruption as Tax Evasion has become a menace and has become a hindrance to our nation’s growth and prosperity. It will fulfil the objective of RTI to check the corruptionas said by Hon’ble justice Shri Pradeep Kant in the recent judgement under Writ Petition No. 3262 (MB) of 2008, Public Information OfficerVs. State Information Commission, U.P. and others,
“….Our Constitution establishes a democratic republic. Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning……..The purpose and object of the act is not only to provide information but to keep a check on corruption, and for that matter confers a right upon the citizens to have the necessary information..,”
- That from the claims regarding marriage expenses (Rs 24 lacs) and past tax evasion notice of 10 Lacs to Mr. <FIL name>, purchasing a home worth Rs 50 Lacs, marrying 3 daughters, all this apart from fulfilling other family liabilities. It can be inferred that Mr. <FIL name>has been evadingIncome Tax from past many years and causing huge loss to the exchequer. Because of such kind of corruption acts, our country is facing huge money loss. In present case survey u/s 133A (5) for marriage expenditure is required by Income Tax Officer.
- BECAUSE, it becomes increasingly imminent and added responsibility of the concerned authorities to make an enquiry into such allegations and ascertain the actual truth behind the true source, if any, of these alleged payments / expenses, so as that innocent people do not get harassed or convicted due to the ulterior motives of some unscrupulous people.
- BECAUSE, CPIO has tried to manipulate the reply by mentioning Section 24(1) of RTI Act 2005 which is misleading and clear cut contradiction to the nature of the original Tax Evasion Petition and RTI contents that were posted as they only highlight grave issues like corruption and Human rights violation.
- BECAUSE Taking a tough stand in Yamaji Sakharam Rathod Vs CIT-Aurangabad in 2007/00009 dated 02.03.07 the CIC had statedThe information was denied under section 24(1) of the RTI Act but the CIC held that
Tax evasion cannot be said to be apersonal matter of the tax evader. The evasions involvepublic money and are therefore related to public activity and have a public purpose. The appellant isentitled to a response from the public authority about the status of the action on his petition.
- BECAUSE, as per latest judgement from Manipur High Court at Imphal from February 2016 , Section 24 is meant to exempt only the intelligence and security related activities of the exempt organisations. Other routine activities will not be affected, especially if the outcome of the proposed RTI intervention is more transparency in the non-sensitive activities of such organisations.
- That, as per judgement Justice R N Mishra Rtd vs Cbi on 1 July, 2011
There is no claim in its mandate and functions, as described above, that CBI is involved in intelligence gathering or is a security organisation. Even the additional functions performed by CBI other than investigation of crimes do not include any function which would lend it the character of an intelligence or security organisation. In view of the same, CBI does not appear to fit the description of an “intelligence or security organisation” under Section 24 of the RTI Act.If such a claim was to be accepted, it would mean that every organisation which is involved in some investigation or the other, including the police, would come within the realm of Section 24 of the RTI Act.
- The High Court of Delhi has held in Bhagat Singh v. CIC &Ors. WP (C) No. 3114/2007 that-
“It is apparent that the mere existence of an investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information; the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process.Sans this consideration, Section 8(1)(h) ,Section 24(1) and other such provisions would become the haven for dodging demands for information”
“Logically no investigation could be said to be complete unless it has reached a point where the final decision on the basis of that investigation is taken. In this context the progress of assessments are therefore exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(h),Section 24(1)”, only states that the investigation is not over. No claim has been made that the process of investigation would be impeded in any manner.
Certain human rights such as liberty, freedom of expression or right to life are universal and therefore would apply uniformly to all human-beings worldwide. However, the concept of ‘privacy’ is a cultural notion, related to social norms, and different societies would look at these differently. Therefore referring to laws of other countries to define ‘privacy’ cannot be considered a valid exercise to constrain the Citizen’s fundamental Right to Information in India.
- That it was noted by Central Information Commission in File no. CIC/DS/A/2011/003792/RM “As the appellant has provided information relating to tax evasion, the CPIO is directed to inform the appellant as to whether the information provided by him was true or false and to disclose the broad outcome of the reassessment, without divulging specific details, once the process is completed.
- That, the Central Information Commission in various decisions has held that
“Although it has been the decision of the Commission that incometax-related details of assesses should not be disclosed throughRTI-proceedings, the matters related to tax-evasion petitionscan, in certain circumstances, be considered for disclosure. In the Commission’s view in a majority of cases of the tax-evasionpetitions, the petitioner is entitled to receive the status at anygiven time about the processing of that tax-evasion Petition.”
- BECAUSE, as per provision of the act before the rejection of the application on the ground of the CPIO should asked the third party and also should have given me an opportunity to present my case.
- BECAUSE, the large public interest which overwrites the third party interest, the CPIO has failed to act so.
- BECAUSE, the CPIO has failed to access the information available to him in his statutory capacity as PIO u/s 5(1) of RTI Act read with 5 (4) and 5 (5) of the RTI Act.
- BECAUSE, there has been denial of information by the CPIO using exemptions specified vide section 24 of the RTI Act, the same view has been nullified by the various quoted judgements of the Hon’ble Central Information Commissioner.
According the appellant is constrained to PRAY for the following reliefs:
- That the CPIO be ordered to provide the appellant the requested information forthwith
- That a personal hearing be afforded to the appellant u/s 19(5) of RTI Act and interests of natural justice in the event the PIO opts to justify and/ or prove the wilful denial of information to the appellant.
- That a copy of comments/ reply of PIO, if any, to this First Appeal be provided to the appellant well in advance of the hearing date.
- That the records be minutely scrutinized by your esteemed self so as to suppress any mischief as per the allegations levelled on your department by the evader himself.
This Appeal is filed within time
Verification: I, the deponent named herein do verify that the facts as narrated above are true and correct to my best knowledge and belief.
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- The Tax Evasion Petition sent by the appellant on 13.11.2017 marked asAnnexure 1.
- TheRTI application filedon 19.12.2017 marked as
- TheImpugned order of CPIO Dated 08.01.2018 marked as Annexure 3