The Madhya Pradesh High Court, on May 15, 2018, upheld the order of Central Information Commission while observing that a wife is entitled to know husband’s salary.
The petition was filed by the wife, seeking maintenance from her husband, alleging that her husband being a high and reputed officer in Telecommunication Department (BSNL) drawing salary of more than Rs. 2,25,000 per month. The wife filed an RTI to seek this information which was denied and hence the matter reached to Central Information Commission.
The commission passed the order, under section 4(1)(b)(x) of right to information Act, directing the department of telecommunication to direct the information about salary and enumeration under public domain.
Husband and his employer approached the Jabalpur High Court challenging the present order, where the single bench set aside the CIC order. At same, court referred to the Supreme Court judgment Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commissioner and others stating that copies of all memos, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment, assets, income tax returns, details of gifts received etc. by a public servant are personal information as defined in Clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.
Later the case was filed to another bench, in writ appeal, of Justice SK Seth and Justice Nandita Dubey, where the question raised that whether the information sought comes under the exemption under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act or under the obligation, Section 4(1)(b)(x), of public authorities to display the information of monthly remuneration received by every officer and its employee under public domain.
Argument presented before the court was that such information in personal under the section 8(1)(j) of the Act and has no relationship to any public activity or interest or would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the respondent.
Bench further observed “While dealing with the Section 8(1)(j) of the Act, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the appellant and the respondent are husband and wife and as a wife she is entitled to know what remuneration the respondent is getting”