Honour confidentiality, HC tells I-T Department

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Income Tax Department to honour its assurance given to the court to maintain confidentiality of the documents seized during a survey operation at news portal Newslaundry’s premises in the Capital earlier this month.

An HC Bench gave the direction after ED’s counsel said the material seized by the agency will be used only in accordance with the law, which may include sharing it with other government agencies, and will not be leaked to third parties.

“The respondent assures and undertakes before the court that the material seized shall not be leaked and the concept of confidentially as enshrined in the Income Tax Act shall be abided. The said undertaking given by the respondent is accepted by the court and respondent is held bound by it,” the court said.

The court was hearing a petition by Newslaundry and its CEO Abhinandan Sekhri. Newslaundry, in its plea, said that the I-T officials impounded a hard disk and cloned copies of office desktops, laptop and phone of Mr. Sekhri, his personal email accounts, and a bunch of loose papers.

The agency’s counsel said, “The material seized is in safe custody of the Income Tax Department. It shall not be leaked. It will be illegal to leak such material.”

In view of the I-T Department’s assurance, Mr. Sekhri said he would not press the prayer with respect to a challenge to the survey operation at this stage.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:29:45 PM |

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