Conclusion: Applications under the Right to Information (RTI) in respect of VAT returns of the third parties cannot be entertained as there is no case of larger public interest involved in it.
Held: In the present case, the complainant had sought tax returns filed by third-party traders. But, the application was rejected by finding that as per the scheme of VAT which was presently replaced by GST, the traders perform self-assessment and deposit the tax amount with the department and the information sought by the complainant was held in the fiduciary capacity which was exempted under Section 8(1)(e) & (j) of the RTI Act. It was held by Commission that it was not inclined to admit the present complaint since the queries of complainant were aimed at securing third party information in which there was no case of larger public interest involved in it.
FULL TEXT OF THE CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:-
Information sought and background of the case:
Vide RTI application dated 27.03.2017, the complainant sought information regarding VAT returns made by M/s Ariba Hardware and other traders. He sought TIN number; copy of balance sheet, cash book, stock register, returns filed and other related information on 11 points. Having not received any information from PIO, the complainant approached the Commission.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
The complainant is absent despite notice. The respondent is present and heard. The respondent submits that the complainant has sought tax returns filed by third party traders. He submits that as per the scheme of VAT which is presently replaced by GST, the traders perform self assessment and deposit the tax amount with department. He submits that the information sought by complainant is held in fiduciary capacity and hence exempted under Section 8(1)(e) & (j) of the RTI Act. The complainant is not present to advance his case.
After hearing the respondent and perusal of record, the Commission is not inclined to admit the present complaint since the queries of complainant are aimed at securing third party information. No case of larger public interest is made out. The complaint is disposed of.