Sat. Jan 23rd, 2021

Details of counseling between estranged couple falls within the exemption clause of RTI Act

2 min read

Central Information
Commission (CIC): While observing that relationship between a person
and counselor is fiduciary and personal in nature, CIC held that information
regarding negotiation, mediation, conciliation and counseling between estranged
couples and counselor falls under exempted clause of information of other
spouse. “If RTI is allowed to be exercised in securing information about
mediation, cantankerous spouse will exploit mediation as a source to get
information with which they can harass the other spouse and use it in courts of
law also,” noted the Commission. The order of Commission came upon an appeal
filed by a woman who sought to know details of her conciliation proceedings
before the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA). It was alleged by the
woman that due to marital problems, she was referred for counseling under DSLSA
and details of her conciliation proceedings before the DSLSA were most required
in her domestic violence and divorce cases pending at Patiala House Courts.
Earlier, she was denied the information by DSLSA on the ground that according
to Rule 20 of Mediation & Conciliation Rules, 2004 proceedings of mediation
and conciliation cannot be obtained and cannot be used for any purpose other
than achieving conciliation. After perusing the relevant material on record,
CIC observed that the proceeding related to the appellant before the DSLSA was
not a divorce proceeding, but a counseling and conciliation proceeding,
confidentiality of which need to be protected as per the law and in public
interest. CIC further observed, “Information regarding negotiation, mediation,
conciliation and counseling will fall under exempted clause of information of
other spouse, being personal and given in fiduciary capacity and, no public
interest is established in disclosure, while there is larger public interest in
protecting that information as that would help mediation to flourish, hence
such information shall not be disclosed.” (Rama Aggarwal v. Delhi State Legal
Services Authority, CIC/SA/A/2015/900305, decided on 13-8-2015)
Source: Legal news India

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