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Maharashtra: Denied information on Ajit Pawar's I-T returns, former CIC moves high court

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akhilesh yadav

Reported by Anahita Mukharji in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Oct.18, 2013

Denied information on Ajit Pawar's I-T returns, former CIC moves high court - The Times of India

 

Denied information on Ajit Pawar's I-T returns, former CIC moves high court

 

MUMBAI: In a possible first for the country, former central information commissioner (CIC)Shailesh Gandhi has moved the Bombay high court after he was refused information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act on deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's income-tax returns. Gandhi hopes to set a precedent for public servants disclosing I-T returns.

"There is a general belief that politicians and elected representatives are corrupt and amass wealth at the expense of the public. There is also a common belief that I-T authorities do not check the returns of those who are elected with their declared affidavits filed at the time of standing for elections. If this is true, citizens will act as monitors and help correct such practices. But if citizens' apprehensions are not true, it would enhance the trust and respect for the elected representative, which is necessary for a healthy democracy," says Gandhi's petition, adding that this would also improve citizens' trust in the income-tax department.

 

Gandhi was denied the information by the I-T department's public information officer. He appealed against the decision under the RTI Act, but the information was denied by both the first appellate authority and the CIC. Gandhi has now filed a writ petition in the high court against this decision.

 

Gandhi, who was involved in framing the RTI Act, was denied the information on grounds that it was of a private nature. The former CIC, however, argued that the section under which he was denied information does not apply to Ajit's I-T returns. Information was denied under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, which exempts personal information from being disclosed to the public to protect the individual's privacy.

 

Gandhi said the exemption does not apply as there is a larger public interest in the disclosure of I-T details of elected representatives, which cannot be considered an invasion of privacy. "Even if it was claimed that there is some harm which could accrue to Ajit by disclosing his income, it is a fact that he has to publicly declare his assets when he stands for election. It would not be possible to argue that any further harm could accrue to him by disclosing his IT returns and balance sheets," says the petition.

 

Despite several attempts, TOI was unable to contact Ajit for comment.

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akhilesh yadav

Reported by business-standard.com on 20/11/2013

HC to refer judgements on petition against minister | Business Standard

 

HC to refer judgements on petition against minister

 

The Bombay High Court today took on record few judgements in support of claim of former CIC Shailesh Gandhi that personal details can be revealed under RTI in public interest, on a petition filed by him seeking income tax details of Maharashtra Deputy Chief MinisterAjit Pawar.

 

The judgements were given by Gandhi to Justice Ranjit More who posted the matter for further hearing on November 28.

 

The judge said he would go through the judgements and hear both the sides on the next occasion.

 

Gandhi has urged the court to quash and set aside an order of Central Information Commission rejecting his plea to furnish copies of income tax returns of Ajit Pawar, who is the nephew of NCPpresident and Union minister Sharad Pawar.

 

Gandhi had sought information about NCP leader Ajit Pawar from Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Income Tax department on November 21 last year. However, the information was denied on the ground that it related to a third party.

 

In accordance with section 11 of RTI Act, 2005, a letter was issued to Pawar by the income tax authorities seeking his views on the issue. In reply, Pawar opposed the disclosure of any information.

 

The CPIO informed Gandhi that the information sought by him had no relationship to any public activity or interest and, therefore, it could not be supplied under provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of Right to Information Act.

 

Gandhi preferred an appeal before the first Appellate Authority, on the ground that the information he had requested formed part of public activity and hence section 8(1)(j) would not be applicable in the case. The appeal was rejected.

 

Gandhi contended that CPIO of income tax department had failed to test the disclosure of information requested, to the proviso to section 8(1) of RTI Act i.E., information which cannot be denied to Parliament or a state Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

 

Gandhi contended that in view of the Supreme Court's ruling, exemption under Section 8(1)(j) cannot be claimed since Pawar was an elected representative and was answerable to people. Disclosure of his income would be in larger public interest, he argued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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akhilesh yadav

[h=1]HC to hear challenge to non-disclosure of Ajit Pawar's returns[/h]

 

[h=1]MUMBAI: Bombay High Court will hear today former Chief Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi 's petition challenging the Chief Information Commission's order rejecting his plea to disclose Income Tax returns and balance sheets of deputy CM Ajit Pawar.

 

Read at: HC to hear challenge to non-disclosure of Ajit Pawar's returns - The Times of India

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karira

[h=1]Bombay High Court to hear plea seeking Ajit Pawar's IT returns today[/h]The Bombay high court on Tuesday will hear a writ petition filed by former central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi seeking NCP leader Ajit Pawar's income tax returns. Gandhi's writ petition will come up for hearing in court room #3 .

 

 

Gandhi had sought the former deputy chief minister's IT returns in 2009. He was, however, denied information under the income tax department. The public information officer had invoked the third-party clause and stated that when Pawar asked, he declined to give information.

 

 

The former commissioner then filed a first appeal, which upheld the decision of the public information officer. At the stage of second appeal, the information commission in a five-member bench order ruled that the information was "personal" in nature, and denied providing it as per section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. The commission also cited a Supreme Court order to back its decision.

 

 

In his petition, Gandhi has challenged the order stating that the commission did not apply its mind and that it overlooked the fact that under 8 (1) (j), information that cannot be denied to Parliament or state legislature.

 

 

Quoting another SC order, Gandhi stated that such information be furnished as it furthers transparency. He added that the income tax department does not match IT returns with the assets and liabilities filed by elected representatives in their affidavits.

 

 

When dna contacted Ajit Pawar, he said, "I do not know about this. I am into politics. These things are handled by our lawyers and chartered accountants. I am not even in Mumbai and I will have to check regarding this."

 

Read More: Bombay High Court to hear plea seeking Ajit Pawar's IT returns today | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

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karira

HC hears petition to reveal Ajit’s I-T returns

 

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court began hearing on Tuesday a petition against the Central Information Commission's refusal of a plea for disclosure of Income Tax returns of NCP leader Ajit Pawar, under the Right to Information Act. The challenge is essentially to test the extent of what category of information can be exempted when seeking information about a third person who holds high public office and whether disclosure in public interest should override exemption to IT documents.

 

Former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi had, in November 2012, sought details of then Maharashtra deputy chief minister Pawar's IT returns of 2009. His writ said if public servants' IT documents are disclosed, transparency will be restored and public perception of all politicians being corrupt might even be dispelled.

 

The plea was denied on the grounds that it was exempted under the Act. The law allows the third party to be heard when information sought is about them. Pawar had objected to disclosure of his IT returns saying that had "nothing to do with public activity or interest.'' Gandhi went to the CIC in Delhi who relied on a Supreme Court verdict that classified IT documents as being "personal'' and said its disclosure would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy.

 

Gandhi's petition, argued by his lawyer J Shaikh before Justice R M Sawant in the HC, was that exemptions under section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act do not apply here since Pawar was an elected representative holding public office and such information was warranted in public interest. Justice Sawant said, "Is it your submission that a public servant is not entitled to any privacy at all?'' The hearing will continue on Friday.

 

Read More: HC hears petition to reveal Ajit?s I-T returns - The Times of India

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Sajib Nandi

The Bombay High Court began hearing on Tuesday a petition against the Central Information Commission's refusal of a plea for disclosure of Income Tax returns of NCP leader Ajit Pawar, under the Right to Information Act. The challenge is essentially to test the extent of what category of information can be exempted when seeking information about a third person who holds high public office and whether disclosure in public interest should override exemption to IT documents.

 

Read more at: HC hears petition to reveal Ajit?s I-T returns - The Times of India

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akhilesh yadav

IT department against RTI disclosure of Ajit Pawar’s returns detailsMUMBAI: The income tax department on Friday submitted through its counsel that the law laid down by the Supreme Court makes it clear that IT returns are personal information that cannot be disclosed on an RTI query. The IT counsel was making submissions to oppose a petition that challenged an order of the Central Information Commission refusing a plea under the Right to Information Act for details of the IT returns of NCP leader and former state minister Ajit Pawar. "In case of public officials there should be a relationship between disclosure sought and discharge of duty of that public official," the counsel said. Read at: IT department against RTI disclosure of Ajit Pawar?s returns details - The Times of India

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karira
IT department against RTI disclosure of Ajit Pawar’s returns detailsMUMBAI: The income tax department on Friday submitted through its counsel that the law laid down by the Supreme Court makes it clear that IT returns are personal information that cannot be disclosed on an RTI query. The IT counsel was making submissions to oppose a petition that challenged an order of the Central Information Commission refusing a plea under the Right to Information Act for details of the IT returns of NCP leader and former state minister Ajit Pawar. "In case of public officials there should be a relationship between disclosure sought and discharge of duty of that public official," the counsel said. Read at: IT department against RTI disclosure of Ajit Pawar?s returns details - The Times of India

 

This is a clear misinterpretation and selective reading of Sec 8(1)(j).

 

Mr Ajit Pawar has been accused of involvement in several scams and is being investigated. It is surely in larger public interest to allow such disclosure.

 

The IT department has not read the second part of the Sec 8(1)(j).

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D.T.RATHAVA

he Bombay high court on Wednesday reserved its order on an appeal filed by former chief information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, seeking income tax returns of NCP leader Ajit Pawar.

 

"You cannot just use the word public interest, it has to be shown that larger public interest is made out which overrides the privacy of the individual," observed justice RM Sawant, who is likely to pass an order in due course of time.

 

Gandhi had sought Pawar's I-T returns in 2009. He was, however, denied information by the income tax department, with the public information officer invoking the third party clause. MORE READ...........

 

Bombay High Court reserves order on plea seeking Ajit Pawar's I-T returns | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

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karira

New thread started by @D\.T\.RATHAVA merged into earlier thread on the same subject.

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Prasad GLN

"You cannot just use the word public interest, it has to be shown that larger public interest is made out which overrides the privacy of the individual," observed justice RM Sawant, who is likely to pass an order in due course of time

 

There is confusion--as I understand Did Hon SG needs a lecture on establishing larger public interest for exempted information with all his experience and so many landmark decisions ? Can not IT legal officials interpret SC Judgment's relevance vis a vis exemptions to exemptions ? What actually went wrong ? When an individual comes into Public as leader where is his right to privacy ? Then why IT officials coined the words "disproportionate assets . Where was the right to privacy gone when in their own interest they publish information naming evaders of tax ?

Can one information remain Personal depending their need and convenience without any flexibility ?

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MANOJ B. PATEL

Mumbai, June 11 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today held that a third party is not entitled to seek information contained in the income tax returns filed by former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar as it does not involve any public interest.

 

The order was passed by Justice R M Sawant who dismissed a petition filed by RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi. Read more at;

 

 

fullstory

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karira

Bombay HC rejects plea seeking copies of Ajit Pawar’s tax returns

 

In accordance with Section 11 of RTI Act, a letter was issued to Pawar by the income tax authorities seeking his views on the issue.

 

The Bombay High Court Thursday dismissed a petition filed by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi seeking copies of income tax (I-T) returns of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

 

Justice R M Savant said: “The petitioner wants to proceed on the hypothesis that the information sought by him cannot be denied to Parliament. In so far as Parliament is concerned, it has its own rules of business and it therefore cannot be presumed that the information in respect of I-T returns of a member of Legislature would be sought.” The same would be in the discretion of the Speaker, the court said.

 

 

Gandhi had sought information about Pawar, who is the nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, from the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of income tax department on November 21, 2012. However, the piece of information was denied on the ground that it was related to a third party.

 

 

In accordance with Section 11 of RTI Act, a letter was issued to Ajit by the income tax authorities seeking his views on the issue. In reply, he opposed the disclosure of any information.

 

 

The CPIO told Gandhi that the information sought by him had no relationship to any public activity or interest and, therefore, it could not be supplied under provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of Right to Information Act.

 

 

Gandhi’s appeal before the appellate authority was rejected on the same grounds as the CPIO. The Central Information Commission, New Delhi, also rejected Gandhi’s appeal saying he had not been able to prove any larger public interest with corroborative evidence.

 

 

- See more at: Bombay HC rejects plea seeking copies of Ajit Pawar’s tax returns | The Indian Express

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MANOJ B. PATEL

MUMBAI: A day after Bombay High Court dismissed a plea filed by RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi seeking details of Income Tax Return (ITR) of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the petitioner today said he will challenge the decision in Supreme court.

 

Gandhi, a former Central Information Commissioner said though he is disappointed with the verdict, he has now sought advice on the matter from other RTI activists in the country including Aruna Roy, P ..

 

Read more at:

RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi to move SC in Ajit Pawar I-T return case - The Economic Times

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Sajib Nandi

Read more:

 

RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi to move SC in Ajit Pawar I-T return case

 

A day after Bombay High Court dismissed a plea filed by RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi seeking details of Income Tax Return (ITR) of senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the petitioner today said he will challenge the decision in Supreme court.

 

Gandhi, a former Central Information Commissioner said though he is disappointed with the verdict, he has now sought advice on the matter from other RTI activists in the country including Aruna Roy, Prashant Bhushan, Jagdeep Kochar, Trilochan Shashtri and others and has also send them across the soft copy of the order.

 

RTI activist Shailesh Gandhi to move SC in Ajit Pawar I-T return case - The Economic Times

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Prasad GLN

Many times a giver has to become taker also. Then he realize the pinch.

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jps50

I am attaching judgement of Hon'ble High Court of Bombay in case of Income Tax Return etc of a state minister. The writ was filed by Shri Shailesh Gandhi Ex-IC, CIC. It is held that such details cannot be supplied without proving larger public interest. The judgment is being challenged in SC

INCOME TAX RETURN 110615 -NEGATIVE.pdf

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