The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Income Tax department to provide information and copies of documents submitted by the PM Cares Fund while applying for exemption under the Income Tax Act..Justice Yashwant Varma also issued notice on the plea by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)/Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Headquarter) (Exemption)..The PM Cares Fund was granted approval under Section 80G of the IT Act. This allows taxpayers to claim deductions from various contributions made as donations to it. .The IT department challenged the order passed by the CIC in relation to an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act by Mumbai-based activist Girish Mittal. The plea stated that the information directed to be provided related to a third party (PM Cares Fund) which is a registered trust, and therefore, the CIC could not have been passed the order without giving the Fund an opportunity of being heard.It said that while passing the order, the CIC has failed to consider the statutory bar contained in Section 138(l)(b) of the Income Tax Act. This provision leaves it to the discretion of the Principal Chief Commissioner, Chief Commissioner or Principal Commissioner whether information related to any assessee should be disclosed in public interest or not.“Additionally, there is a further bar which states that his decision will be final and shall not be called into question in any court of law,” the plea said..Appearing for Mittal, Advocate Pranav Sachdeva argued that the Income Tax department granted exemption to the PM Cares Fund 'very swiftly,' apparently within a day. He further submitted that since the Fund is owned and controlled by the government, it cannot claim privacy. .Filed in May 2020, Mittal's application sought details regarding the tax exemption granted to the PM Cares Fund.Mittal had sought copies of all the documents submitted by the PM Cares Fund in its exemption application and copies of file notings granting the approval.He also demanded a list of all the exemption applications filed from April 1, 2019 till March 31, 2020 and details of the applications rejected.The information was denied by the CPIO/Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax (Headquarter)(Exemption) on June 15, 2020, stating that the information sought was personal in nature and was not related to any public activity or interest and would cause unwarranted invasion into the privacy of an individual..Mittal challenged the order before the First Appellate Authority (FAA) which upheld the rejection of application on August 19, 2020, holding that the PM CARES Fund doesn't fall within the purview of the RTI Act since it is not a public authority as defined under Section 2(h).This order was then challenged before the CIC, which on April 27, 2022, directed the CPIO to provide information about documents submitted by the Fund with its exemption application and copies of file notings granting the approval.However, it rejected the request for information regarding exemption applications between April 2019 and March 2020, and details of applications rejected.The Commission held that the issue of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act has been unnecessarily dragged into the matter, since Mittal has not filed the RTI application before the PM Cares Fund, but with a public authority itself.