NHRC chairman and former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Tuesday said he has nothing to hide after he asked the Income Tax department not to reveal his IT returns.
Balakrishnan said he wrote to authorities not to disclose his I-T returns because it has his PAN number and bank account number. These details may be misused, he said, adding, nobody would like to reveal personal details. Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said government had no role on the matter.
Moily however said that no one "should speak very lightly about persons who occupy highest position." "This is not desirable. This will shake the confidence of institutions consciously preserved by the constitution," he told reporters in Bangalore. A Kochi-based RTI activist T Balachandran had filed a petition in January under the Right to Information (RTI) act with the Income Tax department at Kochi seeking information on tax returns of the National Human Rights Commission(NHRC) chief But Income Tax authorities at Kochi had declined to reveal details of tax returns filed by Balakrishnan and his family members after the former CJI objected to the disclosures.
The NHRC chief said disclosing such information doesn’t serve any public interest, and instead amounts to an invasion of privacy. Balakrishnan, who had earlier opposed the disclosure of the judges' assets, sent a letter dated February 5 in this regard stating that disclosure of information sought is exempt from disclosure as per Sec 8(i) of the RTI act, 2005.
"Information which relates to personal information, disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual are completely exempt from disclosure unless the Central Public Information officer or state Public Information Officer of the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justified the disclosure of such information," he had said.
The application was filed by Balachandran following allegations of accumulation of wealth disproportionate to known sources of income against the family members of Justice Balakrishnan. Another former CJI Justice J S Verma said that Balakrishnan should clear his name. "K G Balakrishnan should clear his name. I wish he ceased to be in the news for all the wrong reasons which is happening everyday," said Justice Verma.