Ban on probe details of tax evasion not advisable: CIC

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 17:34

New Delhi: Central Information Commission has
opined that non-disclosure of feedback on probe in tax evasion
complaints filed by whistle-blowers will dissuade them
from giving any future information.

Acknowledging that the investigation wing of the Income
Tax Department was exempted from the purview of RTI act, the
CIC said such blanket ban would "dis-enthuse" whistle-blowers
which may not be in the "best interest of state revenues".

The case relates to one Brij Ballabh Singh who had sought
information about the action taken on a complaint made by him
on a tax evasion case at the Lucknow office of investigative
wing of Director General Income Tax (DGIT) which rejected it.
citing the exemption clause of transparency law.

"It is also to be noted that blanket ban on disclosure of
information regarding the action taken on tax evasion
complaints may not always be in the best interest of the state
revenues," Information Commissioner M L Sharma said.

Sharma said, "it may dis-enthuse the information givers as
information givers are generally keen to know whether the
information provided by them has been of some value to the
authorities or not.

"Feedback in this regard would motivate the information
givers to provide further informations to the authorities and
thereby enable them to curb tax evasion and enhance the state
revenues," he said.

The Information Commissioner said despite the office of
DGIT (Inv) being an exempted organisation, it may not always
be the best policy to deny some kind of feedback to the
information givers.

"The CPIO had refused to disclose information on the
ground that DGIT (Inv) is an exempted organisation under
section 24 of the RTI Act," he said.

Sharma said it is, however, noticed that the Central
Public Information Officer had not given the name and
designation of the first Appellate Authority before whom the
first appeal could be filed.

"Nor had he mentioned the time frame within which the
first appeal could be filed. Thus, it appears that CPIO did
not discharge his mandate under sub section (8) of section 7
of the RTI Act," he said directing the department give the
details so that RTI applicant can file the first appeal in
this regard.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 17:34

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