Disclosure of treatment expenses of Vajpayee ordered by CIC
The Ministry of Health has been directed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to disclose the quantum of expenses incurred on the treatment of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee within 15 days. While hearing an appeal under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said the cost incurred on the medical treatment of the former Prime Minister should be available with the Health Ministry. 83 year old Vajpayee held the post of Prime Minister on three occasions - in 1996 (13 days), 1998-99 (13 months), and 1999-2004 (complete term). He had undergone a knee-replacement surgery including other treatments.
The RTI applicant pointed to the repeatedly transferring of the RTI application to which the CIC observed, "we find it surprising that the Ministry did not take pains to locate the information and provide to the appellant and, instead, shuttled around the RTI application from division to another”. The CIC has directed the Ministry of Health to "find out information wherever available" and provide it to the RTI applicant who had filed the RTI application with the PMO.
While the illness from which an individual suffers has been held to be personal, the quantum of expenses made on their treatment from the public exchequer, including those of VIP’s has been held to be liable for disclosure.