The Central Information Commission has observed that the wife is not entitled to seek the information of Income Tax Returns filed by her husband through an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
The appellant, Basavantamma filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCA), Bangalore seeking income tax details of her estranged husband, Mr. G H Sharanappa. The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
The appellant submitted that the details of the income tax returns of her estranged husband, Mr. G H Sharanappa as on the date of RTI application should be disclosed to her. Further, it was requested to provide at least the gross income of Mr. G HSharanappa to defend her maintenance case.
However, the respondent contended that the Income Tax Returns of some other individual is exempted information under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005, and therefore, they have denied this information to the appellant.
The Information Commissioner, Neeraj Kumar Gupta in the light of the decision of Supreme Court in the case of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande, wherein it was held that information relating to the income tax return of an assessee is “personal information” which stands exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act unless the CPIO is satisfied that larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.
The commissioner after considering the factual matrix of the case is of the opinion that in the absence of any larger public interest in the matter, the appellant is not entitled to seek the details of the Income Tax Returns filed by the third party, Mr. G H Sharanappa which is an exempted information under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005.
“It is noted that the appellant has requested this Commission for disclosure of at least the ‘gross income’ of Mr. G H Sharanappa so that she could defend her matrimonial case. Therefore, considering the aspect of marital discord between the husband and wife vis-à-vis her right of maintenance, this Commission is of the opinion that the respondent should consider providing only the limited information of the last six years i.e. the numerical figure(s) of the ‘gross income’ of her husband, Mr. G H Sharanappa, within a period of 15 working days from the date of receipt of this order,” the CIC said.