Delhi HC Sets Aside CIC's Order Asking CBDT To Give Information On Ram Janmbhoomi Trust

Justice Subramonium Prasad, on February 28, set aside the order of November 30, 2022, passed by the CIC

The Delhi High Court recently set aside the order of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) directing the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to provide information related to Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. The order was challenged by the CBDT.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, on February 28, set aside the order of November 30, 2022, passed by the CIC.

Justice Prasad relied upon his own judgement of January 22, 2024, passed in the case of "CPIO/Dy Commissioner of Income Tax. HQ Exemption, New Delhi vs. Girish Mittal".

The counsel for the petitioner stated that information pertaining to an assessee cannot be granted under the RTI Act in view of Section 138(1)(b) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Earlier, the High Court, on January 17, 2024, stayed the order of the CIC in view of the fact that the CIC had not issued notice to the Trust. The trust is looking after the construction and management of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The Court had said, "The petitioner has made out a prima facie case for granting interim relief, and irreparable injury would be caused to it if the interim relief were not granted."

The CPIO had challenged the order, sought its quashing, and stated the order was received on January 3, 2023,

The order had directed the CPIO to relook at certain points made in the RTI application and provide the information within 15 days from the date of receiving the order.

The RTI applicant, Kailash Chandra Moondra, had sought a copy of the complete application filed by the trust for exemption or deduction under relevant provisions of law for the donation. He had also sought a copy of the trust deed filed along with the application seeking exemption.

The applicant was denied the information and he had moved the first appeal before appellate authority. The appeal was also dismissed.

Thereafter, the applicant approached the CIC, which passed the order of November 30 directing the CPIO to provide information.

While hearing the petition, the High Court said that the Income Tax Act is a special Act and the information relating to the income tax records is exempted under it. 


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