Can list of people who had deposited black money in foreign banks be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking information regarding the black money including the names of those who were found to have deposited such money in foreign banks. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided some information and transferred many of the queries to the PIO of the Department of Revenue. The PIO, Department of Revenue provided some information but denied the list of individuals who might have deposited unaccounted money in foreign banks.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant laid emphasis on the refusal of the list of individuals alleged to have deposited unaccounted money in foreign banks by the PIO. He submitted that this information had been denied on the ground that the disclosure of such information was governed by the provisions of section 138 of the Income Tax Act. The respondent submitted that the above provision of the Income Tax Act mandated that such information could be disclosed in public interest by the competent authority and citizens would have to approach those authorities.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO to inform to the appellant whether any such list of individuals is held centrally and if the list exists he must provide a copy of it. In case the PIO decides not to disclose this information he must pass a speaking order citing appropriate exemption provision of the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Prinsu v. Prime Minister’s Office and Department of Revenue in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000359
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/857
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission