The Karnataka High Court has ruled that a husband cannot seek the mobile location of his wife’s alleged lover to prove adultery as it will be a violation of the right to privacy of the third party. The court thus quashed a family court order seeking the tower location of the mobile phones of a person who is not a party to a matrimonial case.

The HC said that the third party’s privacy cannot be permitted to be violated on the specious plea of the husband only to help him prove the illicit relationship between the petitioner and the wife. “It is trite that the right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of the Country under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is a right to be let alone,” said the court.

The court allowed the man’s petition and quashed a 2019 order passed by a family court calling for his tower location details for adjudication of a matrimonial case. In the matrimonial case, while the wife is seeking annulment of marriage on grounds of cruelty, the husband alleged that his wife is in an illicit relationship with the man. The husband had filed an application seeking a call detail record of the wife and her alleged lover.

The High Court observed that while the husband’s intention is only to prove alleged adultery by his wife, the tower details of the third party cannot be permitted to be divulged for such reason.

“It would undoubtedly violate the right to privacy of the petitioner who is not a party, who is not put on notice and whose defence is not permitted to be projected even. Therefore, permitting tower details of the petitioner would be contrary to law without him being in the know of any proceedings between the husband and the wife, but only on an allegation of the husband that the wife is in an illicit relationship with the petitioner,” said the HC.

The family court had said that the mobile tower location of the man would not violate privacy as the husband was not seeking conversation details of the calls or SMS.