The Central Information Commission has held that Income Tax department need not furnish information to aggrieved parties on action taken by it till the investigations were completed.
It rejected appeals of Shankar Sharma and Devina Mehra of a Mumbai-based stockbroking firm, First Global, who had sought information about the basis for conducting searches on their premises by the Income Tax department on the ground that investigation in the matter was complete.
"There is a strong case that information connected with such law enforcement work by a public authority must be provided requisite protection from disclosure in view of its uncontested impact on the functioning of the public authority and in that sense all general law enforcing
The RTI Act has thoughtfully restricted access to information in such matters, the Commission said. The Income Tax department, in its submission, has termed as 'not correct' contention of information seekers, stating that the 'investigation' included not only initial investigation but all subsequent actions including all levels of appeals and final determination of the Income Tax liability based upon the initial investigation.
"In the case of the Income Tax department, investigation into tax evasion can be said to over or complete only after the final adjudication about the tax liability had been made after the matter has gone through all the stages of appeals and revisions...," the Commission said.