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Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. CIC (Supreme Court)
November, 16th 2012

Income-tax details can be disclosed under RTI only if in larger public interest

The Petitioner sought details of the Respondents movable and immovable properties and also the details of investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions. He has also sought for the details of gifts stated to have accepted by the Respondent, his family members and friends and relatives at the marriage of his son. The information sought for finds a place in the income tax returns of the Respondent. The Supreme Court had to consider whether the information sought for qualifies to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of S. 8(1) of the RTI Act. HELD by the Supreme Court:

The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are personal information which stands exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, unless it involves a larger public interest and the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information. On facts, as the Petitioner has not made a bona fide public interest in seeking information, the disclosure of such information would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual u/s 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

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