RTI to rescue of woman deserted by husband

August 8th, 2008 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

By Mayank Aggarwal
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Thanks to the Right to Information (RTI) act, a 35-year-old woman has finally been able to trace her husband who left her years ago. Deserted by her husband in 1995, S.M. Devasena had filed a Right to Information (RTI) application earlier this year with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) seeking the whereabouts of her husband K.L.N. Prasad, an ONGC employee.

Devasena is a resident of Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh and is currently living with her parents.

ONGC refused Devasena the information contending that since the information sought is of a personal nature they had sought concurrence from Prasad, who refused it.

She then appealed to the Central Information Commission here and Central Information Commissioner M.M. Ansari heard her appeal here Monday.

During the hearing, Devasena presented evidence of her marriage to Prasad and stated that she has been married to him for 13 years. But her husband was avoiding her despite the order of a local court, which had rejected her husband’s divorce petition.

“I got married in February 1995. However, after only a few months, he left me because he used to like someone else. Despite the court orders, we are not united as yet. I only knew that he is an employee of ONGC,” Devasena told IANS.

She pleaded before the commission that she requires the information so that she can establish contact with him in pursuance of the court decision.

She also asked ONGC whether Prasad had revealed his marriage details to ONGC but it was unable to respond, as information was not readily available with them.

Satisfied with her argument, CIC in its decision Tuesday directed ONGC to disclose the information to her within 15 working days.

“She is an affected person, there is no reason why the information asked for should not be furnished to her,” Ansari held in his decision.

CIC also held that under RTI act, a public authority is required to disclose a directory of its officers and employees and the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation.

“As pleaded by Devasena, the ONGC would also provide the relevant portion of the documents, wherein the details of marital status of Prasad is mentioned,” CIC Ansari noted.

To ensure that the decision is followed, CIC directed the chairman of ONGC to inform the commission about the compliance within 10 days after the necessary action is taken.

“I am thankful to the RTI act as it has enabled me to find my husband who left me years ago. I don’t know anything about him for the last several years,” Devasena said.

“I have finally got the information that my husband is in Ahmedabad,” she told IANS even as she boarded a train here for Ahmedabad hoping to meet her husband.

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