The judicial records held by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal are within the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has held.

“We cannot accept the argument that because the information held by ITAT is in the form of only judicial record, such record is outside the purview of the RTI Act. The Supreme Court of India and High Courts, all have rules for disclosure of information both administrative and judicial.

“The only requirement is that applicant must adhere to the particular rules in making an application under the RTI Act,” Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.

He was hearing the plea of RTI applicant Rakesh Kumar Gupta who had sought inspection of records in a case at ITAT, related to Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center?

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Category : Corporate Law (3321)
Type : Judiciary (9823)

0 responses to “Judicial records held by the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal are within the purview of the Right to Information Act”

  1. Nisban says:

    The information containted in Jyoti’s and Nadey’s comments is very important since the rampant corruption in ITAT is well known. In fact, some ARs of the Department even act as the go-between for the Benches brokering on their (and, of course, for their “fees” too). This is safe for the Benches and also a very reliable source of regular income for the ARs, being their assured “retained income” in the loot. If an assessee is unable or unprepared to pay up, the ARs argue ferociously and the Benches decide in favour of the Department. People think that the Benches are so honest! In cases where deals are successfully struck and the amounts are “firmed up”-mostly in very high demand cases (reckoned by the amount of the tax+interest u/s 234+interest payable for delayed tax payment+the amounts payable as penalties under various sections+prosecution impact)- the department’s AR just feigns arguing strongly, relying on the one or the other favourable orders of the lower authorities and the Hon’ble (?) Members seriously opine about the injustice to the assessee and openly declaring that the department’s case is untenable. The learned DR then humbly leaves the decision to the Hon’ble Bench.

    And everybody concerned, including the Counsels for the assessees and ARs is happy !!

    What is strange is that CBI cases relating to ITAT remain locked up for ages.

  2. MRK Gandhi says:

    Unfortunately more number of tax benches is leading to conflicting decisions. The situation is being taken advantage by some elements even those who preside. It is high time that close monitoring of the decisions especially involving influential groups/persons is a need of the day. Today corruption is all pervading and people amassing wealth at the cost of exchequer and society. Therefore RTI will atleast help in exposing the inconsistent decisions; especially motivated.

  3. NADEY says:

    Yes, Jyothi is right. There are hundreds of decisions rendered per incuriam by a very large number of Benches/Members of the ITAT, for very obvious reasons. Complaints made to the President by tax payers and representatives have never evoked any response, not even by way of acknowledgments. The result has been the transfer of the Member(S) to more FERTILE benches! In Chennai, after four of the five identical cases of one group were decided in favour of the tax payers by two Benches, one Bench later constituted of one other (Senior) member to hear the fifth case was NOT decided on the same lines, despite the precedents being placed before the Bench. After this was decided against the 5th man of the same group, an MP was filed, mentioning the principle of per incuriam and also that a wrong and totally irrelevant citation had been relied upon by the Bench (which, during the hearing, also brought to the fore in the open forum the differences of opinion between two members, the Senior forcibly and indecently forcing his way). But in a 50-page order, the Senior who wrote the order (in the background of a greedy and filthy demand)dismissed the same by writing a “learned” order justifying the rejection order passed earlier.
    This is the standard of the ITAT !!

  4. Jyoti C says:

    There is no doubt that the dishonest and the corrupt parties to the proceedings before the ITAT will certainly agitate against this decision. I think, people can and should also call for the Annual Property Returns of all the Members and Presidents of the ITAT.

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