karnataka high court

Karnataka High Court: While considering the instant case vis-à-vis the application of a wife seeking information contained in the Aadhaar Card of her husband; the Division Bench of S. Sunil Dutt Yadav* and Vijaykumar A. Patil, JJ., stated that the right to privacy of Aadhaar number holder preserves the autonomy of the individual’s right to privacy which has been conferred primacy and admits of no exception under the statutory scheme. The relationship by marriage which is a union of two partners does not eclipse the right to privacy which is the right of an individual and the autonomy of such individual’s right stands recognized and protected by the procedure of hearing contemplated under Section 33. The marriage by itself does not do away with the procedural right of hearing conferred under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act, 2016.

Background and Legal Trajectory: The wife had entered into wedlock with her husband on 18.11.2005 and they had a daughter. It was further stated that in connection with the matrimonial dispute between the petitioner and her husband, the wife instituted proceedings under Section 125 of CrPC before the Family Court, Hubballi, which came to be allowed directing her husband to pay monthly maintenance of Rs.10,000/- to her and Rs.5,000/- to their daughter.

It was stated that there were difficulties in enforcing the order of the Family Court, as whereabouts of her husband were not ascertainable as he was absconding. Under such circumstances, it was submitted that the wife had filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 before the Public Information Officer, UIDAI seeking information, in particular, the details of address of her husband as found in the Aadhar Card.

The afore-mentioned application was rejected stating that in terms of Section 33 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Act, 2016, there could be no disclosure of such information and matter has to be decided by a Judge of the High Court, amongst other grounds.

Aggrieved by the same, the wife preferred a Writ Petition calling in question the correctness of the refusal to furnish information by the Authorities as sought by her in the RTI application. She had also sought for issuance of a writ of mandamus seeking direction to Assistant Director General, Central Public Information Officer, UIDAI to furnish the details and particulars of Aadhaar Card of the husband.

The said Writ Petition came to be allowed by setting aside the impugned endorsements and remitting the matter to the third respondent-Assistant Director General, Central Public Information Officer to issue notice to the husband and hear him and thereafter reconsider the application filed by the wife. It is this impugned order which was challenged before the Division Bench in the instant appeal.

Contentions: Counsels for the appellants argued that impugned order was in violation of S. 33 of Aadhar Act, 2016 which provides that no order could be passed by the Court relating to disclosure of information, including the identity information or authentication records without giving an opportunity of hearing to such person. It was submitted that there has to be strict adherence to the procedure for disclosure of Aadhaar information only after hearing the Aadhaar number holder as well as requirement that hearing has to be made by a Judge of the High Court.

Per contra, counsels representing the wife argued that the information that was sought by the petitioner is as regards her husband and the restrictions placed under RTI Act cannot be made applicable and such restrictions are to be confined to application for information sought for by third person. It is submitted that relationship of husband and wife after marriage results in merging of the identity of both and accordingly, there could be no objection for divulging the information of spouse at the instance of other spouse.

It was further contended that whereabouts of her husband not being available as he was absconding, the only manner of enforcing the order of maintenance is to proceed against him and such rights though substantively affirmed by the order of the Court cannot be effectuated without necessary details of her husband.

Court’s Assessment: Perusing the facts and contentions of the case, the Court took note of Section 33 of Aadhar Act, 2016 and its amended version post K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhaar-5J.) v. Union of India, (2019) 1 SCC 1.

The Court noted that pursuant to KS Puttaswamy judgment (supra), Section 33 was amended to strengthen the regime of privacy, therefore, the contention of the counsel for the appellants that there must be strict adherence of Section 33(1) of the Aadhaar Act is to be accepted.

The requirement as contemplated under the proviso to Section 33(1) is an order for disclosure to be made by a Judge of the High Court. “If that were to be so, learned Single Judge has grossly erred in directing the Assistant Director General, Central Public Information Officer (UIDAI) to issue notice to a person whose information sought to be divulged and to decide whether such information is to be divulged”.

It is a settled principle that, if the Act provides that particular act is to be made in a particular manner, it should be done in such manner or not at all. Accordingly, the learned Single Judge could not have remitted the matter to Central Public Information Officer (UIDAI).

Taking note of the contentions raised by the wife, the Court stated that relationship by marriage does not eclipse the right to privacy. The Court further pointed out that consideration of case of the Aadhaar card holder is to be by a responsible Authority as stipulated under the Aadhaar Act, which lays emphasis on the importance to the right to privacy and the same cannot be diluted by delegating the same to an inferior Authority. The hearing and decision conferred under Section 33 is a non-delegable duty.

The Court thus remitted the matter to the Single Judge, wherein the husband is to be arrayed as respondent and set aside the impugned order which was the subject to the instant appeal.

The Court concluded its assessment by observing that the rights conferred under Section 33 of Aadhaar Act requires order to be passed by a Court not inferior to that of a High Court Judge and to facilitate such right, the High Court is required to make appropriate provision in the applicable regime for such exercise of right which is a statutory right.

[The Deputy Director General v. P. Lavanya, WRIT APPEAL NO. 100406 OF 2023, decided on 10-11-2023]

*Judgment by Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Appellants- Shivraj S. Balloli, Advocate

For respondents- Mallikarjunswamy B. Hiremath, Advocate for R1

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release


  • Do you want the most efficient and easy process to tie the court marriage in Delhi? Go to courtmarriagegov.com to search for Same Day Court Marriage services for Delhi Capital city. Our staff of professionals will ensure the most efficient and smooth ceremony that permits couples to be married in a matter of hours. We can help you get married now!

  • Looking for a hassle-free and well-organized way to tie the knot in Delhi? Visit court-marriages.in for Same Day Court Marriage services in the capital city. Our skilled team ensures a smooth and quick marriage process, helping couples start their journey together without delay. Make your union official today!

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.