The Madras High Court held that a wife is entitled to be informed about her husband's salary to substantiate her claim of maintenance.

The Court dismissed a Petition filed by the husband challenging the order of the State Information Commissioner regarding his specific basic service details to his wife.

The Court noted the significance of transparency regarding the husband's earnings in matrimonial proceedings, reinforcing the principle that such knowledge is integral to the fair adjudication of maintenance claims.

The Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan observed, “the quantum of maintenance payable to the fourth respondent will depend upon the salary received by the petitioner. Unless the fourth respondent knows the quantum of salary received by the petitioner, she cannot make her rightful claim”.

Advocate S. Abubacker Sidhic appeared for the Petitioner, Standing Counsel KK Senthil appeared for the State Information Commissioner, Advocate T. Cibi Chakraborthy appeared for the Alagappa University and Advocate PTS Narendravasan appeared for the Fourth Respondent.

In a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner challenged the State Information Commissioner's order. Furthermore, the Petitioner requested that Alagappa University refrain from disclosing any personal or private information about the Petitioner to the Fourth Respondent in any manner.

Identified as the spouse of the Fourth Respondent, the Petitioner was involved in ongoing matrimonial proceedings with her. The Fourth Respondent sought maintenance and needed specific basic service details related to the Petitioner. To obtain this information, she requested the employer. However, due to the Petitioner's objections, the employer declined to provide the requested information, and the Appellate Authority also refrained from intervening.

Subsequently, the Fourth Respondent lodged a second appeal with the State Information Commission. Through the contested order, the State Information Commissioner directed the employer to furnish the information sought by the Fourth Respondent. In response to this directive, the Petitioner initiated this writ petition, contesting the mentioned order.

The Court upheld the decision deeming it suitable in the given circumstances. The Court referred to the case of Sunita Jain v Pawan Kumar Jain and Others [W.A.Nos.168 and 170 of 2015] and noted that a wife is entitled to be informed about her husband's remuneration from the employer.

Considering the case's nature, the Court noted that the Fourth Respondent required crucial details, specifically concerning the Petitioner's salary, as the determination of maintenance relied on this information. The Court observed that without knowledge of the Petitioner's salary, the Fourth Respondent could not substantiate her rightful claim.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Petition.

Cause Title: VA Anand v The State Information Commissioner

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