NEW DELHI: If you suspect your estranged husband is concealing the size of his gross income to avoid paying maintenance, just file a Right to Information application with the income tax department to ferret out the data. The Central Information Commission recently upheld the right of a spouse to get the data through the RTI mechanism.
The order came as a huge relief for women, as in most matrimonial disputes, husbands understate their income, but are called out in court due to lack of proof. The order came on an appeal filed by Rahmat Bano of Jodhpur wherein the commission rejected the I-T department’s spin of her being a third party to block information.
The CIC also rubbished the argument that seeking such information is out of the ambit of the RTI Act. It directed Jodhpur’s I-T department to provide the data to Bano within 15 days. The order came days after the Supreme Court tightened the rules regarding grant of maintenance in matrimonial cases.
Henceforth, both spouses will have to make full disclosure of their income and assets from the date the maintenance application is filed. While the claimant must file all income and asset details along with the maintenance application, the respondent has four weeks to make full disclosure. The top court took note of the fact that in many cases, husbands refuse to pay maintenance or alimony by disposing of assets and claiming reduced income.
Plugging the loopholes
“If false statements and misrepresentations are made, the court may consider initiation of perjury proceedings and for contempt of court,” a Supreme Court bench recently said