-Report by Shreya Shukla
In the case of Nisha Mittal v Chief commissioner of income tax, the Central information commission directed the husband of the appellant to provide generic details of the husband for the time period as contained in the RTI Application as well as for the latest financial years to the Appellant free of cost within 15 days from the date of receipt of the order.
The appellant filed an online RTI application on 24/02/2021 seeking for the gross annual income of her husband Ashish Mittal. The CPIO denied information to the appellant on 23rd March 2021 under SECTION8(1)(J) of the RTI Act, 2005. The appellant after being dissatisfied with the order filed an appeal dated 03rd April 2021. FAA’s order dated 01st May 2021 was upheld by the reply of CPIO. After this, the appellant approached the commission for help and appealed for the second time.
The appellant contended that she needed the information for supporting the arguments in her maintenance case. On the other hand, the CPIO denied information to the appellant said under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI ACT,2005. Section8(1)(j) states as follows:- 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. Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.
The court had observed
“in matters concerning the disputes of a husband and wife, the Commission is guided by a judgment of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the matter of Vijay Prakash vs. Union of India (W.P. (C) 803/2009) dated 01.07.2009 wherein the Court observed that in private disputes such as the present one between a husband and wife “…The basic protection afforded by virtue of the exemption (from disclosure) enacted under Section 8(1)(j) cannot be lifted or disturbed..”
However, the court then referred to the judgment of the Rahmat Bano case and applied the law laid by the Apex Court. It was observed
“a coordinate bench of the Commission in the Rahmat Bano case, wherein the disclosure of the gross income was allowed to the estranged wife on the ground of sustenance and livelihood of the family.”
After taking into consideration the facts of the case and relying on the judgments of the Supreme Court and Higher Courts, such as Girish Ramchandra Deshpande v. Central Information Commission, Sunita Jain v.Pawan Kumar Jain, Sunita Jain v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Rajesh Ramachandra Kidile v. Maharashtra SIC, the Commission directed the respondent to inform the appellant about the generic details of the net taxable income/gross income of her husband.