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rejection of information


jk associates

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jk associates

I had sought for an information like "list of documents" called for in a proceedings under GST Act. The PIO declined saying it is barred u/s  158 of GST Act which speaks of not sharing information given under GST proceedings I am of the opinion that RTI Act has a over riding effect on official secrets act 

another reason given is exempted information u/s 8 which is usual reason

The authority has committed an unlawful act and will be caught if he gives the information sought 

pl advice

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Dr V S Prasanna Rajan

Section 158(3)(a) of CGST ACT states that - 

(3)Nothing contained in this section shall apply to the disclosureof,––(a)any particulars in respect of any statement, return, accounts, documents, evidence,affidavit or deposition, for the purpose of any prosecution under the Indian Penal Code or the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, or any other law for the time being in force;

The key phrase in the above mentioned section is - "or any other law for the time being in force". This phrase permits disclosure of information under RTI Act, 2005 which are not exempted u/s 8(1),9 of the said act.

Hence, file a first appeal u/s 19(1)of the RTI Act, 2005 before the first appellate authority mentioning the section 158(3)(a) and emphasizing the phrase - "or under any other law for the time being in force" which includes RTI Act, 2005.

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Dr V S Prasanna Rajan

Also in the first appeal mention section 158(3)(h) of the CGST Act, which states that - (h) any particulars when such disclosure is occasioned by the lawful exercise by a public servant or any other statutory authority, of his or its powers under any law for the time being in force.

The above mentioned section enables the PIO to provide information under RTI Act, 2005 which are other wise not exempted u/ss 8(1),9 of the said act.

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Prasad GLN

PIO has misinterpreted the clause and the meaning is when a law mandates a disclosure, it should be disclosed.  Under RTI Act, any citizen can seek such information that is not exempted under RTI Act.  PIO must have stated such section and sub section under RTI with such exemption as per RTI Act and CGST Act section is not material to deny information.  It is not clear as to who is seeking such information, and the relationship with the tax payer and whether PIO has sought comments from that organization if it is a personal information.

If the applicant wants to overcome exemptions, it is mandatory to establish larger public interest like evasion etc.   Then one must first file a complaint with primafacie documentary evidence, and then can seek such information on status of the complaint.  Otherwise, it is highly improbable to get information of any taxpayer from authorities.

Edited by Prasad GLN
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