Should documents furnished for getting the passport be disclosed to ex-wife under RTI?
The appellant claimed that she was divorced from her former husband and filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Passport Office, seeking various information including the copies of documents which the former husband had furnished for getting his passport issued after their divorce. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information stating that it was personal information and was exempt under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, 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: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant argued that if her former husband had declared her wife and used the name of her daughter in any application made to the competent authorities for getting his passport renewed, then she had a right to get access to those records. The respondent clarified that as per the rules it was not required for the authorities to validate the information regarding the spouse of the passport holder when any request for renewal of the passport was received provided the name of the same spouse appeared in the previous passport. The appellant contended that if her former husband had a passport bearing her name as the wife at the time of renewal of the said passport, the authorities would not normally verify this information through any independent means and would go by the claim of the passport holder.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO to verify the passport renewal forms submitted by the appellant’s former husband. If the name of the appellant has been mentioned as his wife, then the PIO was directed to provide this information to the appellant. The CIC also directed the PIO to clarify if there is any rule that requires anyone to declare the names of their/ his/ her children while applying for a passport or for renewal of an existing passport.
Citation: Ms. Hina Ansari v. Ministry of External Affairs in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001258
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1060
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