Disclosure of amount of medical reimbursement to Supreme Court judges
December 19 last year, a single member bench of the Delhi High Court had quashed the February 2012 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) to disclose the medical reimbursements made to Supreme Court judges. Terming the CIC order as ‘erroneous’, the High Court held that disclosure of the medical reimbursements would not serve any public interest. The Court held that the medical bills would indicate the treatment and/or the medicines required by individuals which would clearly be an invasion of the privacy.
Against the order of the single bench, a petition has been filed by the RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal, who has argued that as per the Constitution, the salaries, pensions and allowances payable to the judges of Supreme Court are to be charged under the Consolidated Fund of India. As the bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw did not assemble, the matter could not be taken up. The petition, which was listed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, was not taken up as the bench did not assemble.
The petitioner has argued that:
· The reimbursement of the medical bills of is made from tax payer’s money and information pertaining to expenditure of public money on public servants cannot be exempt from disclosure under RTI Act.
· The petitioner contended that he has not sought information regarding the illness or medical treatment of the judges, but the request is limited to the quantum of money spent on the illness.
The CIC had also directed the apex court registry to make arrangements to maintain details of medical reimbursement made to judges in a digital format so that their retrieval and disclosure could be easier.