Seeking Income Tax details of a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) using RTI
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Income Tax (IT) Department seeking to know the income tax paid by a particular Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Aligarh City for certain period. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that the Permanent Account Number (PAN) of said person was not available and hence, the requested information cannot be supplied.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the view taken by the PIO could not be approved, as in a small city the MLA is an important person. If he is an income tax assessee, then it is not difficult for the PIO to trace his PAN Card number. The Commission directed the PIO to trace the PAN and then take a decision as to whether requested information is to be supplied or not under the law. The CIC also held that the appellant can exercise his right under section 19 of the RTI Act for filing appeals as per law if he is not satisfied with the decision of thePIO.
The order of the CIC calls for interesting observations:-
- If the PAN No was known, even then the details of the IT return are not liable to be disclosed as they are personal as per the Supreme Court judgment. Hence, asking for locating the PAN No makes little sense.
- The PIO should have rejected the application specifically citing the fact that IT returns are personal information which is exempt from disclosure 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 rather than coming up with some excuses.
Citation: Mr. Mazhar Ul Kamar v. Income Tax Department in File No.CIC/RM/A/2012/000417/LS
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1329
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission