NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the medical expenses of the apex court judges and their families could not be made public under the Right to Information Act, while upholding the right to privacy.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agarwal against the April 17 judgment of a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, which had upheld the decision of its single judge that information on medical bill reimbursement could not be disclosed under the RTI.
“There should be some respect for privacy and if such information is being disclosed, there will be no stopping. Today, he is asking for information on 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,” a Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said.
The single judge had earlier set aside a Central Information Commission direction based on Agarwal’s plea that judges should disclose such information.
The court also did not agree with Agarwal’s advocate Prashant Bhushan’s contention 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 are being utilised for medical treatment of judges.
Bhushan said when it comes to demand for providing information about politicians, bureaucrats and other public servants, the apex court passes “good judgments”. But there is an impression that same yardstick is not applied when information related to judges is sought under the RTI.
Swamy Gets SC Relief in Hate Speech
New Delhi: In a major relief to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed for six weeks the execution of a non-bailable warrant issued against him by an Assam court for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a university there. A Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice M Y Eqbal also issued notice to the Centre on a plea challenging Constitutional validity of certain penal provisions pertaining to offences of rioting and hate speech. Senior advocate T R Andhyarujina, appearing for Swamy, said, “This man has been subjected to incredible harassment for giving a lecture in a university.” The Bench, which decided to hear arguments on the Constitutional validity of certain IPC provisions, asked Swamy to move the HC or a competent court with his individual case of issuance of warrant in hate speech case.