Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RTI: Wife/Husband can’t get official record about their own name!

Uttar Pradesh

A very important and interesting case has come up in Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission. This is related with a husband and wife who are having family dispute and are fighting Court cases on that.

Wife Smt Bhavna Srivastava is a housewife and husband Mr Amit is working in UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) Lucknow. They could not get along well and soon court case started between them in Family Court Allahabad. Bhavna had a feeling that her husband was hiding his salary and allowances. So she filled an RTI application to PIO of UPPCL Lucknow in Apr 2010 to know about salary, allowances and family details entered in Amit’s service documents. After not getting the reply she filled a reminder and then the 1st appeal to the Appellate authority. Then also she didn’t get any reply from PIO or Appellate Authority.

Then she naturally filed an appeal before UP State Information Commission (UPSIC) through case no S6- 1817/C/2010 Bhavna Srivastava Vs PIO UP Power Corporation Lko. In the final hearing UP State information Commissioner Ashok Kumar Gupta decided that Bhavna can’t get the information she was asking for. The SIC said- "Wife can’t get information about her husband's salary, allowances and family details available in service documents as it is confidential and personal information"

There are many important issues which we need to think in this case. The first is the section 4(1)(b)(x). It says- “ Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act, the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations”.

Thus this information about salary and emoluments shall anyway have been there on Internet for everyone to have a look. Even if it is not there or a person has asked the information, it shall be immediately given as per this above section. This implies to any person. And if the person is the husband or the wife, claim becomes doubly important. One fails to understand how the UPSIC refused to give information.

The second is section 8(1)(j). It prohibits information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.

Here again, we can see that a husband or a wife is directly affected by the information about what name the employee has given in official records and thus it no longer remains a personal information which has no interest to the person asking for information. The person (husband or wife) is very much affected by any wrongful information in this regards. As far as I can think, even before the RTI Act, such information must have been given when a husband or wife wants to know what name has been given by the employee in official records. But here, even after coming of RTI Act, the information is not being given.

Report by:

Dr Nutan Thakur
National RTI Forum, Lucknow