GSTN comes within the ambit of RTI Act: CIC

Source:     Mar 01, 2018

The Central Information Commission (CIC) Friday held that the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) will come well within the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The appellant contended that GSTN was a private limited company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act and that the HR Policy had not been finalized, the detailed norms including delegation of powers for discharge of GSTN functions was under preparation, the rules/regulations and manual etc. to be used by its employees for discharging their functions was also under preparation, the annual statement of accounts and balance sheet was available until the period 2013-2014 only and that it was reflected that on completion of manual, rules and regulations, recruitment etc., an arrangement shall be put in place with the consultation of all the stake holders of the Company including tax payers.

The appellant also drew the attention of the Commission to the alarming and pathetic state of affairs of the GSTN which was meant to serve the public at large.

Admitting the formative stages of the construction and formulation of GSTN, the Respondent stated that they were making best of their efforts to streamline their processes and procedures to put in place a robust, scientific and state of Art network for the benefit of the users.

While concluding, the CIC advised the GSTN to suo motu disclose the information sought by the Complainant in compliance with Section-4 of the RTI Act, 2005 to ensure transparency, objectivity, and accountability in the functioning of the Public Authority.

“Keeping in view the facts of the case and the submissions made by both the parties, it is evident that a sketchy information as available on its website had been furnished by the Respondent. However, it is appalling to learn that an important, significant and critical area concerning the implementation of GST Network still required streamlining and consolidation which needs to be attended to forthwith in the larger public interest,” CIC said.