In the Central Information Commission Second Appeal No. CIC/CCITJ/A/2019/108747 Decided on: 6th November 2020 Bench: Mr. Neeraj Kumar Gupta (IC)
The Hon’ble Central Information Commission has held that under Right to Information wife is entitled to know about the general details of the net taxable income of her husband.
Facts of the Case:
Rahmat Bano [hereinafter referred to as “Appellant”] filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) O/o the Income Tax Officer, Ward No. 3(4), Room No. 89, Aayakar Bhawan, Paota C Road, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The Appellant seeking information photocopies of income-tax returns filed by Sh. Mohammed Rafique S/o Sh. Mohammed Ramjan for the period 2017 to 2018. As the CPIO [hereinafter referred to as “Respondent”] had not provided the requested information, the Appellant filed the first appeal dated 14.01.2019 requesting that the information should be provided to her. The first appellate authority was ordered on 25.01.2019 and disposed of her first appeal. She filed a second appeal under Section 19(3) of the RTI Act before the Commission on the ground that information has not been provided to her and requested the Commission to direct the respondent to provide complete and correct information.
Whether disclosure of income tax returns and gross income of husband to his wife is permissible under Right to Information Act, 2005.
From the Appellant Side:
- It was submitted by learned counsel that no information has been provided to the Appellant by the Respondent on her RTI application dated 28.11.2018.
- Further, it was submitted by learned counsel that the Appellant is entitled to get this information under the RTI Act.
From the Respondent Side:
- It was submitted that the Respondent referred to the CPIO reply dated 27.12.2018 and FAA order dated 25.01.2019 and stated that the information sought by the Appellant is personal information of third party, which cannot be disclosed under the provisions of the RTI Act.
- The Respondent further submitted that they have also sought consent from the husband of the Appellant but he has denied providing his information to the Appellant.
The Commission, after hearing the submissions of both the parties and after perusal of records, observes that the information sought by the appellant regarding copies of income tax returns of her husband, etc. is personal information of third party, which cannot be disclosed under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. However, after taking into consideration the aforementioned analysis and the judgments of the Supreme Court and Higher Courts- 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 directs the respondent to inform the appellant about the generic details of the net taxable income/gross income of her husband held and available with the Public Authority for the period 2017-2018, within a period of 15 working days from the date of receipt of this order. Further, the Commission said that the details/copy of income tax returns and other personal information of third party need not to be disclosed to the appellant except the above the required information.
As, there has been many cases where the parties try to take the undue advantage of Section 8(i)(j) of RTI Act under the name of personal information and therefore, clarity in the stance of Section 8(i)(j) w.r.t the information of husband’s annual gross income has provide a huge relief for females, as in most marriage dispute case, the males attempt understate their income. The Hon’ble Commission rightly held that under Right to Information wife is entitled to know about the general details of the net taxable income of her husband.