Whether a registered society is paying income tax or not is not personal information under RTI
The appellant sought the income tax related details of Kamdehenu Goshala Samiti such as Whether the Goshala was paying income tax or not, how many returns have been filed by the Goshala, whether balance sheet has been submitted with the income tax return, profit and loss account, income and expenditure account and whether the Goshala has got exemption certificate u/s 80(G). The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied for the information stating that it was a third party information and the Samiti objected to its disclosure. During the hearing, the appellant clarified that he was not asking any details relating to the returns but was merely seeking a response in the affirmative. He also submitted that the Kamdehenu Goshala is a registered society which is being funded by donation from the public and hence the question of a third party does not arise.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the appellant has sought an answer in yes or no as to whether the Goshala is an income tax assesse, if so, for how long has it been filing returns, whether with the returns the Goshala has been submitting a profit and loss statement and whether it has got an exemption u/s 80(G) from the Income Tax authorities. The Commission further held that the disclosure of this information cannot by any stretch of imagination be considered to be of a personal nature. The Commission directed the PIO to provide the information sought to the appellant.
There is a need to define privacy in the Indian context to avoid conflicting orders on privacy.
Citation: Mr. Nawal Kishore v. Income Tax Department in File No.CIC/DS/A/2011/001704/RM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/473
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