Central information commission asks income tax department to give man generic details of wife’s income

NEW DELHI: The central information commission (CIC) has directed the central public information officer (CPIO) of the income tax department to provide a man with only the “generic details of the net taxable income or gross income” of his wife to verify these details in a maintenance case.
The appellant had approached the CIC with a second appeal where he said he has sought income-related details of his estranged wife to corroborate evidence pertaining to a maintenance case pending against him. The appellant had filed an RTI application in October 2022, seeking gross income and net income annually of his wife from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
In its decision dated September 27, the commission said, “This bench has dealt with cases bearing the same factual matrix and the stance maintained by it so far is that the information sought for pertains to the personal information of a third party and stands duly exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.”
However, information commissioner Saroj Punhani added in the order, “In the recent past, this bench has met with the continuing reliance placed by a staggering number of applicants on the decision from November 6, 2020, of a coordinate bench of the commission in the Rahmat Bano case, wherein the disclosure of the gross income was allowed to the estranged wife on the ground of sustenance and livelihood of the family.” In the Rahmat Bano case, the CIC had taken into account decisions rendered by Madhya Pradesh HC and Bombay HC.
“Therefore, applying the same yardstick in favour of husbands in pursuance of the appellant’s plea that the information is being requested for corroborating the evidence in a maintenance case pending against him, the commission directs the CPIO to provide only generic details of the net taxable income/gross income of the appellant’s wife to the appellant,” the order said.

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