Can an Income Tax assessee seek copies of documents said to be in his possession?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Income Tax department (IT) seeking list of books of account and other records seized by the IT department during a raid on a particular Woolen Mills in 1993. The Public Information Officer (PIO) observed that during the course of search proceedings, a copy of the panchnama is provided to the assessee stating details of seizures. As such the appellant is already in possession of the same and seeking information under the RTI Act would amount to diversion of public resources disproportionately. Hence the information was denied under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, 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. of the RTI Act.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that the said firm was dissolved as per his notice dated 12.5.1993 and IT authorities conducted search in the premises in October 1993. He also clarified that the details sought by him are in the custody of other partners and no documents are available with him. The appellant also stated that he needed the information for the case pending in Ludhiana court.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the information sought by the appellant can be classified under two categories as the documents pertaining to the period before dissolution and after dissolution of the firm. The CIC directed the PIO to furnish details of the seized documents which pertain to the period prior to dissolution of the firm.
Citation: Mr. HiraLal Goyal, Ludhiana v. ITO in File No. CIC/RM/A/2012/000628
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1328
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission