Medical Reimbursement of Judges not covered under RTI

Justice Vibhu Bakhru of Delhi High Court, while setting aside a CIC (Central Information Commission) order, asking the apex court to maintain details of medical reimbursement availed by each judges of the apex court during last three years and such information shall be furnished to the information seekers. Since, Medical records of reimbursements of judges’ does not serve any public interest, Delhi High Court held that, such information cannot be disclosed under RTI Act.
High Court while terming the CIC (Central Information Commission) ruling as “erroneous” and said that, “medical records are not liable to be disclosed unless it is shown that the same is in larger public interest, and in the present case, the CIC has completely overlooked this aspect of the matter.”

It was a case where, the apex court responded to the RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal that, Supreme Court does not keep records of medical reimbursement of individual judges and, declined to furnish him the information under the transparency Act. Subsequently, Subhash Chandra Agrawal moved an appeal before the Central Information Commission, seeking directions to the Supreme Court to make necessary arrangements to maintain details of medical reimbursement made to judges.

However, the Supreme Court refused to furnish information, citing a stay by Delhi High Court in a similar case, prompting Agarwal to once again approach Central Information Commission. Subsequently, Central Information Commission directed the apex court to place the order before the Secretary General of the Supreme Court so that he can ensure its compliance.

Supreme Court subsequently moved to High Court in appeal, and the Court stressed that, “any information relating to the medical records would be personal information which is exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1) (j) of the Act. The medical bills would indicate the treatment and/or medicines required by individuals and this would clearly be an invasion of the privacy.”

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