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Wife is entitled to know the gross income of her husband, No ITR : CIC

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The central information commission (CIC) allowed a wife to get her husband gross income or net taxable income, earlier this month. The information commissioner Neeraj Kumar Gupta, directed the CPIO of the Income Tax Officer, Jodhpur to provide the available generic details to wife.

“Taking into consideration the aforementioned analysis and the judgments of the Higher Courts, 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.”, in the order.

In the case, the appellant filed an application under RTI Act, 2005 to the CPIO of the Income Tax Officer, Jodhpur seeking photocopies of income-tax returns of her husband. Then after denial of information, the appellant filed first appeal which was also disposed off. Being aggrieved, she filed second appeal under section 19(3) of the RTI Act before the Commission.

The CIC, observed that the information cannot be disclosed, as it is personal information.

“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.”

The commission referred the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commission, which held that the details in income tax return are ‘personal information’.

“14. ‘The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are ‘personal information’ which stand exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, unless involves a larger public interest and the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.”

The commission also referred the judgement of the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay (Nagpur Bench) in the matter of Rajesh Ramachandra Kidile vs. Maharashtra SIC and Ors, which states that, concerning the maintenance of wife, salary details are no longer ‘personal information’ to the husband.

“In a litigation, where the issue involved is of maintenance of wife, the information relating to the salary details no longer remain confined to the category of personal information concerning both husband and wife, which is available with the husband hence accessible by the wife.”

The commission while allowed the wife to know the income of her husband, also directed not to disclose other information with the appellant except the “net taxable income/gross income”.

“The details/copy of income tax returns and other personal information of third party need not to be disclosed to the appellant”

Case Details : Rahmat Bano Vs The CPIO, O/o the Income Tax Officer; Second Appeal No : 108747; Order Dated : November 6, 2020

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