The Central Information Commission has directed the Income Tax department to make public all file notings related to the Rs. 45 crore tax exemption given to International Cricket Council for the 2011 World Cup.
Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur did not agree with averments of the Income Tax department that all the details related to the waiver given to ICC were held by it in fiduciary capacity making it exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act.
Gurgaon-based RTI applicant, who filed the application seeking these details, argued that exemption granted to ICC is already in public domain and the people have a right to know the circumstances in which the exemption was granted.
While allowing the disclosure of file notings, Mr. Mathur permitted Income Tax department to sever information which might be related to commercial confidence of the International Cricket Council as provided under section 10 of the RTI Act.
“The Commission directs the CPIO to give copies of all notings/decisions to the appellant after applying severability clause u/s 10 of the RTI Act, in respect of information of commercial confidence, within three weeks of receipt of this order,” Mr. Mathur said in his order.
The case related to RTI application seeking file notings related to Rs. 45 crore tax waiver given to ICC by the Central government. The Centre in March 2011 had decided to grant the waiver to incomes arising from World Cup.
The income tax exemption was granted to the cricket World Cup as it qualified criteria specified under the amendment of the Income Tax Act, 1961, in 2005 in wake of ICC Championship Trophy 2006.
To avail of the tax exemption, it required the event to be recognised by the global body governing the sport, besides participation of more than two nations. Moreover, the specified income has to be notified by the government.