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CIC Directs Inquiry Into Leak Of IT Returns To Third Parties [Read Order]

The Central Information Commission on Monday directed the Income Tax Department to investigate into an incident of IT returns of an RTI applicant being released to third parties without his consent.

“Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties and considering the gravity and seriousness of the issues raised by the Appellant, there is an emergent requirement to investigate the root cause of the leakages of Confidential Data filed by the Tax Payers and plug the loopholes forthwith. It is essential to protect the Confidential Financial Data filed by millions of Tax Payers from falling into wrong hands in the larger public interest,” Information Commissioner Bimal Julka observed.

The Commission was hearing an appeal filed by Mr. Badal Satapathy, who had submitted that his ITR details for the Financial Years 2005 to 2011 were downloaded in December, 2012 by the owner of two different USER IDs, and shared with a third party without his consent.

He had now sought information about the details of data security/sharing policies practiced by the income Tax Department, and the grounds on which the financial details filed by an IT assessee could be made available to a third party/public. He had also demanded to know whether such an act attracted penal provisions under Indian Penal Code or the IT Act, 1961.

During the course of the hearing, it was revealed that Mr. Satapathy was notified of the transfer of his RTI application 16 different times. Dissatisfied by the response of the CPIO, he had then filed an Appeal.

Noting that the IT department, the Supreme Court and various High Courts have often denied disclosure of IT returns, the CIC observed, “The Commission was baffled while considering the facts and circumstances of the present case in as much as in majority of similar subject matters considered by the Commission on a daily basis, the Respondents invariably claimed various exemptions under Section 8(1) to deny information to information seekers regarding Income Tax Returns of Third Parties. However, in the present instance, the personal and confidential information of the information seeker himself is alleged to have been compromised and no satisfactory response regarding the status of investigation was provided.”

It thereafter directed that investigation into the incident be completed within a period of 30 days, and that a report be shared with the Appellant and the Commission thereafter.

Read the Order here.

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  • Debashish majumdar says:

    This case has lowered the faith of Indian citizen on income tax department and brought down the credibility of CBDT to zero. Need a thorough investigation by cyber cell, crime branch,..this lady should be taken into custody before she abscond and interrogated to identify her accomplice and modus operandi…the effort of appellant must be appreciated who exposed these corruptions in finance ministry..

  • Anand Srinivasan says:

    The nation wants to know how this cunning lady has acquired 7 years of classified information of a citizen by taking law into her hands.she must be immediately interrogated by top investigation agency so the modus operandi can come out. What she exchanged to get this favour in return??Only huge money or some thing else also…..I have lost faith in the finance department and its integrity..may quote this judgment and not file return this year.

  • Anshul Mishra says:

    From her Facebook profile this creepy lady Lipipuspa appears to be a 498-A wife and must have committed to the ITO who have shared this ITR a huge percentage of maintenance amount. Now both will be maintained by govt of India in a central jail.. Very good move and a tight slap by Mr Badal…good job done.From .now onwards no wife will dare to touch husband’s IT returns..Nice Judgment by Hon’ble information commissioner Bimal Julka..

  • Shalini khurana says:

    Lipipuspa Rozalin must have paid heavy price in cash/kind to hack the most secure department of Govt of India. Now during investigation she will face the music and may be a guest at Tihar if proper IPC are applied by the Delhi police..

  • Priya m says:

    LIPIPUSPA ROZALIN must have bought the ITRs by paying heavy price to the ITO or may have stolen from their software system by gaining over some unscrupulous officer , now during investigation she will face the music and may be a government guest at Tihar jail for some time if proper IPC are applied by CBDT…

  • G.L.N. Prasad says:

    Most important point is as why CIC should serve such directions to IT, when IT is not a subordinate authority, the matter is not within ambit of RTI Act, and it is more a complaint on functioning of IT and not failure in providing information.
    What was information solicited, not provided, whether there was record, if not whether PIO is supposed to collect, compile after investigation into the incident, whether the decision is confined to RTI Act or not.
    Unfortunately, the important point whether IC was vested with such powers or not under RTI Act was not discussed.