May 28, 2018
In a recent case, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh High Court addressed an intriguing concern, whereby the Court stated that irrespective of exemption of information under Section 8 of RTI Act, a wife is entitled to know the details of salary of her husband. In the case the wife was claiming maintenance from the husband wherein the quantum of maintenance being awarded to the wife was disputable on account of amount of maintenance being paid to the wife.
Brief facts of the case: In this case, the Petitioner wife had instituted a case for maintenance and had filed an application under Section 91 of CrPC for a direction to the respondent husband to submit his payslip for determination of proper maintenance amount. Then wife also filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to seek the salary details of the husband.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) in the case asked the Central Public Information Officer of Respondent no. 2 i.e. BSNL to furnish the details of monthly remuneration of the respondent husband.
However, the CIC’s order was challenged by the husband as well as his employer BSNL on the ground that the information sought by the wife was exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act (information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information).
Thus, the issue that fell for consideration by the High Court was whether the information sought is exempt under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act or it is covered by Section 4(1)(b)(x) which obliges the public authorities to display on public domain the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees?
The Division Bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court while making an order in the favour of wife, made the following observations in the case:
That while dealing with the Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act , we cannot lose sight of the fact that the appellant and the respondent No.1 are husband and wife and as a wife she is entitled to know what remuneration the respondent No.1 is getting.
The entire case can be accessed here.