Utt HC | Husband seeking personal information such as salary of wife under Right to Information Act, 2005; Whether acceptable or not?

Uttarakhand High Court

Uttaranchal High Court: Sudhanshu Dhulia J. dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

The facts of the case are such that the petitioner, the wife, is a teacher in a Government Primary School in Udham Singh Nagar and was married to respondent 8, the husband but later their relation got strained and therefore she started living separately due to alleged cruelty, torture and demand of dowry at the hand of her husband and in-laws. The case of the petitioner before the Court was that her husband (respondent 8) was seeking personal information of the petitioner under Right to Information Act, 2005 (in short “RTI Act”), and these information are being given to him by the concerned authority. The information sought was as to how many teachers are working, the salary being given to the petitioner etc. Hence the instant petition.

Respondent 8 contended that this information does not appear to be private in nature in any manner nor are they exempted under the RTI Act.

Under the RTI Act, the ‘information’ has been defined under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, which reads as under:

‘information’ means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force.”

A bare perusal of the aforesaid definition shows that the ‘information’ has been widely defined. On a request these information have to be supplied to the persons seeking such information by a public authority.

The ‘public authority’ has also defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, which reads as under:

“‘public authority’ means any authority or body or institution of self-government

established or constituted:

(a) by or under the Constitution;

(b) by any other law made by Parliament;

(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;

(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any-

(i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;

(ii) non-Government Organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government.”

The Court observed that it cannot be any anybody’s case that a Government authority being Government school does not come under the definition of ‘public authority’. The only exception as to the information given under the Act under Section 8 of the RTI Act, is an exemption from disclosure of information. It further observed that the nature of information sought by respondent 8 is not covered under any of the exemption given under Section 8 of the RTI Act.

The Court held “no interference can be made in the present writ petition. The writ petition is totally misconceived and is hereby dismissed.”

[Jasmeet Kaur v. State of Uttarakhand, 2016 SCC OnLine Utt 2276, decided on 07-09-2016]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances:

For petitioner: Mr. Mani Kumar

For State: Mr. P.C. Bisht

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