F.No.RTI / JCIT / R-1 / HBL / 2013-14
Office of the
First Appellate Authority/Joint
Commission of Income-tax,
Range-1, Hubli, Dated : 10.04.2014
Proceedings of the 1st Appellate Authority and Joint Commissioner of Income-tax, Range-I, Hubli
A first appeal was filed u/s 19(1) of RTI Act, 2005 before the under signed by Shri B.S.K.Rao, B.Com, LLB,MICA, Auditor & Tax Advocate, Beside SBI, Tilak Nagar, Shimogga-577201 Karnataka State, on 12.03.2014, against the proceedings of CPIO vide his order F.NO. RTI / ITO Sirsi / 2013-14 dated: 25.02.2014. In his appeal, the appellant requested for information regarding the “Information and name and address of persons other than advocates who are pleading and acting before the A.O. by virtue of power of Attorney in scrutiny proceedings for AN 2011-12” . The appeal is against the order of ITO Sirsi, who is the CPIO in this case.
The order was passed by the CPIO on 25.02.2014 where as the first appeal was filed before this office on 12.03.2014.
The facts of the case and the ground of appeal were considered carefully.
The CPIO vide his proceedings of F.NO. RTI/ITO Sirsi /2013-14 dated:-25.02.2014 has rejected the RTI Application and mention as under in his order:
The Applicant requires the information such as name and address of representatives who are not advocates. Thus, the applicant wants to know the educational qualification of the persons who are appearing before the AO as representatives in Income —tax proceedings. This information could not be furnished to the applicant for the reason‑
a) The same is personal in nature.
b) This Information regarding the educational qualification is not available with this office.
Aggrieved by the CPIO Order, the applicant preferred 1st appeal before the first appellate authority on 12th March, 2014. After receiving the first appeal, a letter was sent to the applicant on 13th March, 2014 directing him to appear before the undersigned on 25th March, 2014, either personally or through the authorized representative or to file the written submissions if any. In response, the appellant representative filed letter dated 15th March, 2014, mentioning that “I request your good office, to kindly discuss the grounds adduced in column No. 7 of appeal petition read with exhibits filed while disposing my appeals on merits”. Further he again filed the letter dated 17th March, 2014 mentioning that “Further, such information is not covered u/s 138 of Income – Tax Act. Even holding that it is personal in nature, CPIO’s ought to have invoked section 11 of RTI Act & provided the information sought by me” In addition , he has also cited case laws i.e. Bar Council of Incia Vs A.K.Balaji (SLP (Civil) No (S) 17150-17154/2012) Dtd . 04.07.2012 (SC) and A.K.Balaji Vs Govt. of India (2012) 35 KLR 290 21.02.2012 . Further as per the original first appeal filed by the applicant received by this office on 12.03.2014, the submissions are as under.
Along with the above grounds of appeal, he has submitted citations i.e. Bar Council of India Vs A.K.Balaji and others (Supreme Court), A.K.Balaji Vs Government of India (Madras High Court), and information furnished by various Officers in response to the same petition requesting for names of the persons and other than Advocates who made recorded appearance before the Assessing Officers during the scrutiny proceedings for the A.Y 2011-12. The facts of the case, the grounds of appeal, and the proceedings before the CPIO were considered carefully.
The CPIO in the instant case has rejected the information requested on the ground that it is personal in nature and the education qualification are not fully available in the records. However the aggrieved appellant submitted that there is no personal information that was sought for and it is in the interest of the public and in the interest of the revenue. He also relied on various citations. He also pleaded that the information sought is not covered u/s 138 of IT Act. He also submitted copies of various CPIO orders from various Income tax Offices in India, furnishing the information as requested under RTI Act 2005.
After careful consideration it is concluded that the information called for is not personal in nature and cannot be denied. As per RTI Act 2005, the information requested is to be provided in general until and unless it is specifically barred by the provisions of the Act. After going through order of the CPIO and appeal filed by the party, it is concluded that the information called for is general in nature that can be utilized for the public interest and thus cannot be denied. Hence the first appeal filed by the appellant is Allowed and the CPIO order dated 26.02.2014 is overruled . The CPIO is directed to furnish the information available i.e. name and address of persons other than advocates who are pleading and acting before the A.O. by virtue of power of Attorney in scrutiny proceedings for A.Y 2011-12, within 30 days from receipt of this_order, after following the procedure laid down by the, RTI Act 2005. With regard to non availability of information on education qualification of the persons other than Advocates who appeared before the IT Office, it is directed that verification may be made from the files and available information can be furnished to the appellant following the above procedure and also the due date
In case the applicant is not satisfied with this order, he may prefer an appeal to Central Information Commission, Room No.- 326, C- Wing, 2nd Floor, August Kranti Bhawan Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi – 66, which is the 2nd Appellate Authority, within the 90 days from receipt of this order.
(B. Bala Krishna)
First Appellate Authority and
Joint Commissioner of Income-tax,
Shri B.S.K.Rao, B.Com, LLB, MICA, Auditor & Tax Advocate, BDKRAO, Beside SBI, Tilak Nagar, Shimogga-577201, Karnataka State.
Copy to : ITO,Sirsi for necessary action.