1. The Finance Minister
Government of India
2. The Secretary,
Department of Personnel and Training ,
Government of India
REVIEW -THE EXCLUSION OF OFFICE OF DIRECTOR GENERAL OF INCOME TAX (INVESTIGATION) FROM PURVIEW OF RTI ACT- INCLUSION IN SECOND SCHEDULE U/S 24
Whereas the Government has included the Office of Director General of Income Tax ( Inv.) in the Second Schedule to RTI Act and thereby excluded the same from applicability of the Act. There are sufficient safeguards are available already u/s 8 for protection of conflicting interests and no such exclusion was ever required but for the reasons well known government has succumbed to the pressure and preferred this undemocratic job.
The Investigation wing deals with Tax Evasion Petitions (TEPs) and there are more than 50000 TEPs pending with different offices across the country. No centralized record of these petitions involving billions of Rupees is available either with CBDT or Finance Ministry and the Investigation Machinery is set free, and unbridled to do whatever suits to it. Since the centralized data of TEPs are not available with the controlling units there is no monitoring of the functioning and propriety of the Investigation wing. In the given situation the possibilities of corruption can’t be ruled out hence public interest is being compromised by inclusion of the office in Second Schedule of the Act. Your esteemed Government has done a great disservice to society by inclusion of DGIT(inv) in the schedule.
A vibrant and healthy democracy requires public scrutiny of every public activity by public servants. Customs, Service Tax and Excise are important sources of central revenue now. Moreover, similar offices in Excise, Customs and Service Tax have not been extended such shield & are not included in the Second Schedule of the Act yet functioning without any unwarranted interference. I think there is no problem with the similar positions in Income Tax Department.
Section 24(2) also provide for omission of any entry of Second Schedule and it is a sign of progressive democracy that more and more be opened for public scrutiny to ensure active participation of public in democracy. And any action reverse to that amounts to reversal of process of democratization. You will please agree that transparency and corruption are born enemies. Therefore please reconsider the proposal and not only exclude the office of DGIT (inv) from Second Schedule to RTI Act but also compile and place the data of TEPs in public domain to make a stronger but corruption free India.
Please acknowledge receipt and apprise me of the concrete steps taken by you in the matter.
Mani Ram Sharma