subjectivity of the issue and RTI
There was a peculiar situation, for which I was not able to find a suitable solution. I hope someone can help.
The facts are that, an informer gave certain information, which was used to assess some undisclosed income of an individual (assessee) in the income tax proceedings. The matter is pending with higher appellate authorities, as the income so assessed was deleted by the lower appellate authority. The informer is under the impression that the Department has helped the assessee, thus the application was made under the RTI act to know about the what’s, how’s, who’s, when’s etc of the case (in as much as 25 different questions). The factual information was given in entirety. The problem is regarding the subjective question as to whether any undue favours were given by the department to the assessee and vice versa.<O:p</O:p
The CPIO replied that the matter was subjective and involves giving an opinion in individual capacity, which was beyond the scope of RTI. However, it was mentioned that all the necessary steps that could have been taken under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, were taken well within time, and this indicated that no undue favour was given.<O:p</O:p
On appeal, the CIC replied that “though the information does not fall under the provisions of RTI Act, 2005, but necessary extracts may be given from the record available to prove that no undue favours were given”. <O:p</O:p
1. Thus, even though the matter was held by the CIC to be beyond the purview of RTI Act, directions were issued in this regard.
2. Also, the matter being subjective, no ‘extract of the record available’ can be given.<O:p</O:p
For the time being, clarification has been sought from the CIC as to what extract to give. Even though the decision of CIC is binding and not appealable by the Department, but was the decision of the CIC correct in view of 1 above?
I think there must have been some mis-representation from the Department side. You may however show the detail to prove that there was no 'favor', by disclosing the information, if not possible to let inspect the information seeker to inspect the relevant 'Note sheet'; way by application of severance clause of RTI Act 10 (2).
On the above note, this post was made a little earlier, you may let us know the representation of department later on.