Smt. Nutan Sharma vs Income Tax Department, Gwalior on 29 April, 2009

Central Information Commission
Smt. Nutan Sharma vs Income Tax Department, Gwalior on 29 April, 2009
20 SmtNutan SharmaCITAppealsGwalior 09 04                1
4/28/2009 5:18:58 Deepak


                          CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
                   Room No.308, B wing, August Kranti Bhawan, Bhikaji Cama Place, New Delhi-110066
                                 Appeal No. CIC/S/A/2009/00020

Appellant:                                                Smt. Nutan Sharma, CIT(Appeals), Gwalior
Public Authority:                                         Income Tax Department, Gwalior
                                                          (through Shri A.R. Suryavansi,
                                                          Income Tax Officer, Gwalior)

Date of Hearing:                                          09/04/2009

Date of Decision:                                         29/04/2009

FACTS

:-

The background of the matter is that the Appellant had stayed in the departmental
Guest House at Gwalior for a certain duration in 2005 and Ms. Smit Rekha Vishnoi, CIT,
Gwalior had passed an order dated 18/09/2007 vide which the house rent allowance
amounting to Rs.1.49 lakhs was ordered to be recovered from the Appellant. It is in this
context that the Appellant vide her letter dated 03/04/2008, had sought information from
CPIO on 15 points. Even when Shri A.R. Suryavansi, ITO, was the CPIO at the
relevant point of time, Ms. Bishnoi, CIT, Gwalior, had assumed the role of CPIO and
passed an order dated 21/05/2008 in this regard vide which she had ordered supply of
copies of certain documents and declined to disclose information in regard to some other
points on the ground of ‘not applicable’.

2. Aggrieved with the order passed by Ms. Vishnoi, the Appellant had filed an
Appeal before Shri M.K. Moge, CCIT, Bhopal. Shri Yogender Dubey, DCIT (Admn.)
had disposed of the matter vide his letter dated 02/07/2008, the relevant paras of which
are extracted below:-

“2. The application should have been disposed of by the ITO(Hqrs), Gwalior
as vide this office order dated 31/08/2007 in F.No. CCIT/MP/Hqrs/R.Inf./07-08
the ITO(Hqrs), Gwalior has been designated as the CPIO for the office of the Cit,
Gwalior. It appears that the said application has been disposed off by the CIT,
Gwalior assuming the function of CPIO whereas the CIT is the Appellate
Authority.

3. In view of the above, I am directed to request that you may consider filing
an appeal against the CIT, Gwalior’s above mentioned order before the Central
Information Commission, New Delhi.”

3. The Appellant has accordingly filed the present Appeal before this Commission
wherein she has sought following relief from the Commission:-

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         (i)       that Smt. Vishnoi be directed to provide complete and correct information
                   to her;
         (ii)      that Smt. Vishnoi be directed "to compensate the applicant suitably for the

harassment and irreparable loss and other detriments suffered by the
applicant because of the illegal and unlawful acts done malafidely by her
without any authority or jurisdiction with the intention to harm the
Appellant.”

(iii) that penalty be imposed on Smt. Vishnoi u/s 20(1) of the RTI Act for:-

(a) not furnishing vital and accurate information with in the specified
time-frame;

                   (b)     malafidely denying the vital information;
                   (c)     knowingly giving incorrect, incomplete and misleading
                           information; and
         (iv)      that disciplinary action may be recommended against Smt. Vishnoi under

CCS(CCA) Rules in terms of section 20(2) of the RTI Act etc.

4. The matter was heard on 09/04/2009. The Appellant appeared before the
Commission. Shri Suryavanshi appeared for Ms. Vishnoi. The main submissions of the
Appellant are as follows:-

(i) that Ms. Vishnoi was not the CPIO at the relevant point of time (in fact,
she was the Appellate Authority) and, yet, she unauthorisedly and
malafidely assumed the role of CPIO and passed an order dated
21/05/2008 in regard to her RTI application with the intention to harass
and torture her;

(ii) that Ms. Vishnoi recorded statements of her former driver and some other
persons with the intention to cause her harassment and mental torture;

(iii) that Ms. Vishnoi had instigated her landlord to make a false statement to
the effect that she did not stay in the rented accommodation;

(iv) that Ms. Vishnoi had directed the Addl. CIT to make house rent recovery
of Rs.1.49 lakhs unjustifiably purely with the intention of causing her
harassment and financial loss.

5. The Appellant would also submit that she is now not so much interested in
obtaining copies of the documents which have been denied to her by Ms. Vishnoi, but she
is primarily interested in awarding her compensation for harassment and mental torture
caused to her by Ms. Vishnoi under section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act.

6. On the other hand, it is the submission of Shri A.R. Suryavanshi (authorized
representative of Smt. Vishnoi) that Smt. Vishnoi was CPIO till 31/08/2007 and that she
passed the impugned order dated 21/05/2008 under the mis-conception that she still
continued to be the CPIO.

7. I have carefully gone through the RTI application of Smt. Sharma in which she
had sought information on 15 paras. It is admitted by the parties that Shri A.R.
Suryavanshi, ITO, was the CPIO at the relevant point of time. Smt. Vishnoi appears to
have unauthorisedly jumped into the shoes of CPIO knowing fully well that she was not
20 SmtNutan SharmaCITAppealsGwalior 09 04 3
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the CPIO (she, in fact, was the Appellate Authority) and provided information to the
Appellant on certain paras vide her order dated 21/05/2008. A careful perusal of her
order indicates that she has not provided categorical information on paras 7 & 8(i)&(ii).
In regard to paras 7 & 8(ii), she has stated that it is not applicable. In regard to para 8(i),
she has not categorically responded to the query of the Appellant as to whether she had
received any directions from CCIT, Bhopal for recording of statement of the staff car
driver etc. As mentioned above, Smt. Vishnoi did not appear before the Commission on
the date of hearing and deputed Shri A.R. Suryavanshi to represent her. Shri
Suryavanshi, however, could not categorically respond to non-supply of information in
regard to paras 7&8(i) of the RTI application. It is, therefore, deemed expedient to give
another opportunity of hearing to Smt. Vishnoi to have her say in the matter.

8. Another important issue is the relief sought by Smt. Sharma as enumerated in para
3 above, we think it is necessary to hear Smt. Vishnoi before deciding the matter.
Hence, the matter is adjourned to 19/05/2009 at 15.30 hrs. with the directions to Smt.
Smit Rekha Vishnoi, CIT, Gwalior, to appear before this Commission to explain the
following:-

(i) under what circumstances did she pass an order assuming the role of CPIO
whereas, in fact, she was the Appellate Authority at the relevant point of
time and, thereby, deprived the Appellant of a channel of hearing;

(ii) the reasons for which information has been denied to the Appellant in
regard to paras 7&8(i) of the RTI application; and

(iii) the relief sought by the Appellant as enumerated in para 3 ante.

9. Smt. Vishnoi is directed to submit her written representation, if any, to this
Commission, two days before the hearing with a copy thereof to Appellant Smt. Nutan
Sharma. Smt. Nutan Sharma is directed to either appear before the Commission herself
on the aforesaid date of hearing, or, in the alternative, send her comments on the written
representation, if any, sent to her by Smt. Vishnoi.

(M.L. Sharma)
Central Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the
charges, prescribed under the Act, to the CPIO of this Commission.

(K.L. Das)
Assistant Registrar
Tele: 011 2671 73 53

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