In Kirubananthan K. Vs. PIO, EPFO, Chennai, (Aug. 2, 2017) the Central Imfprmation Commission has directed the PIO to provide the salary and employment details of the wife under RTI Act. The CIC rejected the exemption for disclosure of such information under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act.
The appellant had filed RTI application on 13.06.2016, sought information regarding details of the EPF A/c No. & EPF A/c statement of Smt. M Nithya (wife of the appellant) from the date of opening of account to bill date. The CPIO, vide its reply dated 07.10.2016 informed the appellant that required information could not be provided as details requested are of personal nature and the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest and it infringes the privacy of the individual concerned. Therefore, the said information is exempted from disclosure as per section 8(1)(e) & (J) of the RTI Act, 2005. Being aggrieved with the CPIO reply, appellant filed First appeal on 13.10.2016 and first appellate authority upheld the decision of CPIO. Being dissatisfied, appellant has approached the Commission.
The appellant stated that his wife had filed a maintenance petition against him and he wanted the information sought to prove that she was employed. The officer stated that the information sought by the appellant could not be disclosed as that was personal information of third party.
The fact of a person's employment as available in a public authority cannot be considered as private or personal information of another person.
The Commission observes that employment status of person can be furnished to spouse for the purpose of deciding maintenance, if sought under RTI Act, because such information could be an essential component in deciding maintenance issues. If wife is a petitioner for maintenance, she has a right to know the salary details, similarly a husband can defend his interest seeking the salary details and employment status of wife.