Can Wife Seek Salary Details of Husband under the RTI Act 2005?

The Central Information Commission has allowed the appeal filed by the Wife seeking salary details of Husband, a Govt. Employee, under RTI Act.

The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), United India Insurance Company Limited, Pune seeking following information:-

“Please provide the information regarding salary/pay grade of Mr. Aniket V Palkandwar, Channel Manager.”

The CPIO refused to provide information citing reasons of “Personal Information”. The appellant filed the first appeal and thereafter filed a second appeal u/Section 19(3) of the RTI Act before the Central Commission requesting to take appropriate legal action against the CPIO u/Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005 and also to direct him to provide the sought for information.

The appellant stated that the remuneration of a Govt. employee cannot be treated as personal information, as it is required to be disclosed suo motu in accordance with Section 4(1)(b)(x) of the RTI Act, 2005. Therefore, the respondent should be directed to provide him the information regarding salary/pay grade of her husband Mr. Aniket V Palkandwar, Channel Manager. 

The respondent stated that they have claimed exemption u/Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005 treating salary/pay grade of some other individual as third party personal information. 

Sri Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Information Commissioner of Central Information Commission observed that with regard to disclosure of remuneration of the spouse, the Division Bench of the Hon’ble High Court of Madhya Pradesh vide its decision dated 15-05- 2018 in the matter of Smt. Sunita Jain v. Pawan Kumar Jain and others, W.A. No. 168/2015 and Smt. Sunita Jain v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and others, W.A. No. 170/2015 has held that spouse an seek such details under RTI.

Therefore, in view of the legal position stipulated in the case of Smt. Sunita Jain (Supra), the Commission directed the respondent to disclose the ‘gross income’ of Mr. Aniket V Palkandwar to the appellant without showing any deduction details, within a period of 15 working days from the date of receipt of the order.

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