Can a husband embroiled in matrimonial battle get his estranged wife’s income details through RTI?
The Central Information Commission (CIC) in its order dated September 27, 2023 directed a Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) to make available only the “generic details of the net taxable income or gross income“ of the applicant’s wife so that the same can be presented in his maintenance case.
In October 2022, the appellant husband had filed an RTI application seeking details of the gross and net income of his wife, which could be furnished to the court during the pendency of his maintenance case.
In February 2023, the CPIO initially denied parting with such information citing the restrictions under Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act). In the same month, the husband filed his first appeal, which also got rejected, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs Central Information Commission & Ors.
Subsequently, the husband moved the CIC with his second appeal.
READ ORDER | Husband Cannot Seek Information About Wife’s Matrimonial Complaints Against Her Ex-Husbands: Delhi High Court
Defense by Wife
The appellant’s wife argued that she had already presented her income records before the civil court during the maintenance case, and thus once again seeking this information through an RTI application would not serve any public interest.
Information Commissioner Saroj Punhani went through a number of past precedents on record and allowed the appeal.
The past orders referred in the current matter were Rahmat Bano vs Chief Commissioner Of Income Tax,which had ruled in favour of the husband.
The commissioner also observed the Delhi High Court order VijayPrakash vs. Union of India wherein during private disputes such as one between a husband and wife, the basic protection afforded by section 8(1)(j) cannot be lifted or disturbed.
Another order referred was Madhumala B. R. vs. ACIT, Ward 3(3)(1), Bangalore, where such personal information was denied to the appellant as orders of the Information Commission to furnish such information were temporarily stayed by Karnataka High Court.
However, the commissioner did observe that in the Rahmat Bano case, the disclosure of a man’s gross income was allowed to his estranged wife. It held that in this case, the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the Bombay High Court had passed orders in favour of the appellant.
Accordingly, the CIC allowed the appeal and directed the CPIO to provide the “generic details of the net taxable income or gross income” of the appellant’s wife to the appellant (husband) within 15 days from the date of receipt of the order.
WATCH OUR DETAILED INTERVIEW WITH THE ADVOCATE WHO REPRESENTED HUSBAND IN THE CASE ABOVE
Husband Can Seek Wife’s Generic Income Details Through RTI | Landmark Order | Voice For Men India
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READ ORDER | Husband Permitted To Seek Generic Income Details Of Wife Through RTI To Procure Evidence In Maintenance Case: CIC— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) October 7, 2023
▪️CIC referred to Rahmat Bano case, where disclosure of husband's gross income was allowed to estranged wife#VoiceForMenhttps://t.co/G74XvIhV0z
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