Right to privacy in marriage
When the sensational case of Vinod Kaushik vs Madhvika Joshi came up, the issue of alleged hacking of e-mail of husband and father-in-law by daughter-in-law came to limelight. The father-son duo alleged that their daughter-in-law did so to support her dowry case she had earlier filed separately with the Pune police, when the couple was staying in Pune.
Hacking the personal email of the husband or wife by the other party can also be a ground for divorce. It’s a new dimension which is being added to matrimonial disputes and divorce law. Moreover, as evidence is quite concrete and visible when such offense is done, the courts don’t face problem of believing or not believing in the evidence presented.
Divorce for breach of privacy when email is hacked
The Information Technology Act, 2000 highlights about the evidence that can be used to prove matrimonial dispute. The data can be stored in a computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet or any other computer resource. If the collected data shows an alleged adultery by a wife, the husband would present the proof of the same from the emails, whatsapps and other social media interaction she has exchanged with her boyfriend/paramour.
However, it’s not authorized to have illegal access to the email or personal data of the husband or wife to gather the evidence. For instance, if the husband hacks his wife’s email accounts or unauthorized accesses her SMSs he is liable under the Information Technology Act to compensate his wife for the alleged unauthorized access and is liable to be punished for hacking under the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Unauthorized access of email to gather evidence
The Information Technology Act, 2000 says that the act of viewing data in another person’s computer, computer resource or mobile phone without such person’s consent is criminal offense. The law also makes it criminal to touch another person’s computer or mobile phone without their permission and holds it liable to pay compensation for the injury caused.
The ruling in the case of Vinod Kaushik v. Madhvika Joshi is important as here it was held that it’s an extension of this concept of the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. The concept of right to privacy was included in the relationship of marriage as well which operates within a matrimonial houses.
The party that gets the evidence accessing the data from the other party’s computer, phone and other similar devices does not come to the court with clean hands. This can negatively affect the remedies available to him or her.