The Union Law Ministry on Wednesday clarified that spouses of judges, including the spouse of Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, on tour abroad are entitled to a daily allowance.
The Department of Justice said it regretted an incomplete reply given by its Central Public Information Officer to an RTI application, creating an erroneous impression that the government paid only for the air passage to the spouse of the CJI for his visit to London and Dublin in October last, and that no daily allowance had so far been sanctioned.
“It is hereby clarified that on the basis of the sanction issued by this department till recently, the spouses of judges were given daily allowance by the Indian Missions abroad, since they were also part of the official delegation. The Finance Ministry has clarified further that under the rules, there is no difference in the entitlement of an official on a tour abroad or a member of his family who has been authorised to accompany him,” the Department said.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Court M.P. Bhadran had earlier maintained that in seeking sanction for grant of daily allowance to the CJI’s spouse no practice had been violated.
He had said: “It is incorrect to say that so far the government was providing only air tickets to the spouses of the CJI and other Judges of the Supreme Court and that no other allowance has been sanctioned. The government has been providing daily allowance not only to the spouse of the CJI but also to the spouses of other Judges of the Supreme Court as and when they go abroad. The officers working in Indian Foreign Service are enjoying this facility. The same facility is being extended to the spouses of the CJI and all Judges of the Supreme Court.”
He pointed out that during the last three years whenever the CJI visited abroad with his wife, daily allowance was sanctioned to the spouse. “The government has declined the daily allowance only for the last foreign trip of the CJI to London. That is the very reason why such a request was made for providing daily allowance to the CJI”s spouse as the government has been doing in the past.”