CIC: Information on GST invoices of third parties cannot be disclosed under the RTI

Under the Right to Information Act, 2008, GST invoice information belonging to third parties cannot be disclosed, Central Information Commission (CIC) has clarified.

In the case of Vemula Madhu vs Commissioner of Central Excise and Service Tax of Warangal, the applicant contested the tax authority’s contention. The appellant argued that as per the facts gathered from the public domain, the Goods and Service Tax Identification Number (GSTIN) falls under the Central jurisdiction of Warangal. He further contested that both the Centre and state collect GST. However, both authorities are evading the provision of information.

The Information Commissioner, Saroj Punhani, relied on the applicable law and judicial pronouncements to decide. The CIC held that the amenability of the declared GSTIN to the State jurisdiction is not the mandate under the RTI Act, the factual position of which was questioned by the appellant. 

The information that the appellant has sought claiming it to be third parties, cannot be disclosed as that is exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. The CIC referred to the apex court judgment regarding the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)- “Supreme Court of India vs Subhash Chandra Agarwal”.

Any import of “personal information” envisaged under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act has been presented as per earlier rationale laid down in cases such as Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs Central Information Commissioner & Ors., (2013) 1 SCC 212, Canara Bank vs C.S. Shyam, and R.K. Jain vs Union of India & Anr.

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