The Supreme Court today held that the medical expenses incurred on judges and their family members cannot be disclosed or made public under the Right to Information Act.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu refused to interfere with the Delhi High Court verdict which had dismissed a plea seeking details of medical reimbursements of Supreme Court judges, saying it had personal information and providing it would amount to invasion of their privacy.
“We understand that we are getting the reimbursement from public money for our treatment and we are entitled for it as per the service conditions of judges,” the bench, which comprised justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, observed.
The bench said, “there should be some respect for privacy and if such informations are being disclosed, there will be no stopping.”
“Today he is asking informations for medical expenses. Tomorrow he will ask what are the medicines purchased by the judges. When there will be a list of medicines he can make out what type of ailment the judge is suffering from. It starts like this. Where does this stop,” the bench further observed.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal against the April 17 judgement of a division bench of the High Court which had upheld decision of its single judge that the information about reimbursement of medical bills of judges and their families cannot be disclosed under RTI law.
The single judge had set aside the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) direction holding that judges have to disclose such informations.
The apex court did not agree with advocate Prashant Bhushan that since citizens are entitled to know how public money is spent by other public servants, they also have a right to know how these funds were being utilised for medical treatment of judges.