Recording wife’s telephone Conversation Unlawful

Recoding wife’s conversation illegal

Recording of telephonic conversation of wife, without her knowledge, is a clear-cut infringement of her privacy, observes the Punjab & Haryana High Court in Neha v Vibhor Garh delivered on 12 November 2021.

Family Court allowed production of telephone conversation

The High Court, In the civil revision, set aside the order of a Family Court, in which he was allowed to prove the telephonic conversation between him and his wife in a divorce suit, under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. In the divorce case, the Family Court had allowed the husband to produce a telephonic conversation in a compact Disk so as to prove the allegations of cruelty against his wife. The High Court termed it as a clear breach of the fundamental right of the petitioner-wife – her right to privacy – while setting aside the order.

High court relied on previous judgement

The High Court relied on the judgement in Deepinder Singh Mann v Ranjit Kaur wherein it was observed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court that a married woman too has a valuable right to her privacy of speech with her husband. Couples may speak many things with each other unwary that every word would be weighed one day and put under the judicial scanner. Courts should be very circumspect in such matters before allowing such applications as presented in the above case. The courts cannot actively participate in approving mischief and invite invasion of privacy rights not called for in deciding a case where parties are free to adduce evidence

AP High Court also issued similar order

The Andhra Pradesh High Court in Smt. Rayala M. Bhuvaneswari v Napaphander Rayala, had specifically held that the act of tapping itself by the husband of the conversation of his wife with others was illegal and it infringed the right of privacy of the wife. Therefore, these tapes, even if true, cannot be admissible in evidence.

Supreme Court will look into this issue

However, the Supreme Court, in a Special Leave Petition No 21195 of 2022, has agreed to look into the issue of secret recording of telephone conversation by the spouse and production of it as part of evidence, possibly infringing the right of privacy of the other, particularly in family court where law of evidence is not being strictly followed and will declare its binding law.

Telephone-tapping would offend Article 21 of the Constitution of India, unless it is permitted under the procedure established by law.

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