New Delhi: Men allege that anti-dowry laws are often used to harass them. One man is using the Right to Information Act to prove his point.
“My entire family was ruined after the dowry case. I lost my job and my family’s honour even though I did not do anything wrong,” says Bhagat Singh, who won a case against his former wife by using the Right to Information Act.
Bhagat and Saroj Nimal’s marriage lasted only ten days, but for the last seven years he has been trying to prove that he never took dowry. He says his former wife did not earn even enough to afford the 10 lakh she claims to have given Bhagat as dowry.
To prove his point he asked the Income Tax Department to investigate his wife’s earning. However, he did not get the information he was trying to find.
RTI lawyer Girja Verma says, “The IT department refused to divulge the information saying that it was a personal dispute.”
Bhagat then approached the Central Information Commission (CIC), which ruled that the details can be provided only after the case related investigations are over.
However, in a significant order, the Delhi High Court said that the information can not be denied under the Right to Information Act simply because a matter is being investigated.
According to the Act, “The mere existence of an investigation process can not be a ground for refusal of information, and the authority withholding it must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of information can hamper investigations.”
An RTI Activist, Manish Sisodia, says, “This is victory for Right to Information because many officers in many cases have misinterpreted this clause of investigation.”
The High Court has taken serious note of the two-year delay by the IT department in providing the required information. The High Court has also asked the authorities to act at the earliest.
The IT department now has two weeks to provide the information. Bhagat Singh is hopeful that the details provided will prove to be crucial evidence in the dowry harassment case registered against him.