I-T Returns: Have nothing to hide, says ex-CJI

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 20:30

New Delhi: NHRC chairman and former Chief
Justice of India KG Balakrishnan on Tuesday said he has nothing to
hide after he asked the Income Tax department not to reveal
his IT returns.

Balakrishnan said he wrote to authorities not to
disclose his I-T returns because it has his PAN number and
bank account number.

These details may be misused, he said, adding, nobody
would like to reveal personal details.

Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said government
had no role on the matter.

Moily however said that no one "should speak very
lightly about persons who occupy highest position."

"This is not desirable. This will shake the confidence
of institutions consciously preserved by the constitution," he
told reporters in Bangalore.

A Kochi-based RTI activist T Balachandran had filed a
petition in January under the Right to Information (RTI) act
with the Income Tax department at Kochi seeking information on
tax returns of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC)
chief.

But Income Tax authorities at Kochi had declined to
reveal details of tax returns filed by Balakrishnan and his
family members after the former CJI objected to the
disclosures.

The NHRC chief said disclosing such information doesn’t
serve any public interest, and instead amounts to an invasion
of privacy.

Balakrishnan, who had earlier opposed the disclosure of
the judges` assets, sent a letter dated February 5 in this
regard stating that disclosure of information sought is exempt
from disclosure as per Sec 8(i) of the RTI act, 2005.

"Information which relates to personal information,
disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity
or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of
privacy of the individual are completely exempt from
disclosure unless the Central Public Information officer or
state Public Information Officer of the appellate authority,
as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public
interest justified the disclosure of such information," he had
said.

The application was filed by Balachandran following
allegations of accumulation of wealth disproportionate to
known sources of income against the family members of Justice
Balakrishnan.

Another former CJI Justice JS Verma said that
Balakrishnan should clear his name.

"KG Balakrishnan should clear his name. I wish he
ceased to be in the news for all the wrong reasons which is
happening everyday," said Justice Verma.

Moily said that he had come across the issue only in
the press but said "nothing is authenticated."

"I don`t know what role government has to play. It is
for the respective Information Commissioner to deal with it,"
Moily told reporters in Bangalore.

However, "I want to make one thing very clear. The
government has no role to play," he asserted.

RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal said that in view of the
fact that so many allegations of corruption has been made
against Balakrishnan his objection to making his IT return
public does not hold good and the IT department should make it
public.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 20:30

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