In a rare move, three judges of the Delhi High Court paid for their air tickets and did not claim any allowance from the government during a week-long trip to Hong Kong for addressing an official two-day conference on arbitration.
Justice Vikaramjit Sen, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice S K Kaul toured Hong Kong between March 27 and April 2 to attend a two-day international conference on arbitration.
In their letter seeking approval of the tour, the three judges wrote to the government they would pay for their air fare, and the expenses in Hong Kong would be taken care of by the organisers, HT has learnt.
The Government insisted on sponsoring their hotel accommodation charges while the conference was on. The judges accepted just that and paid for all other expenses during the week-long stay on their own.
Official trips of Supreme Court and High Court judges are cleared by the President on the Law Ministry’s recommendation.
According to government guidelines, judges travelling abroad on official trips are entitled to get air-fare and a daily allowance, depending upon the part of the world being visited.
“The judges will pay air fare but Delhi High Court will provide hotel accommodation between March 27 and 29, after which they will bear the expenses for the rest of the duration of their visit,” said the letter granting approval for the visit. The judges declined to comment but it is learnt they felt that there was no need to burden the government for the flight charge to Hong Kong.
Denied business class
Recently when the austerity drive was on, the government denied Justice Sen a business class though he was on a trip to Chandigarh to preside over a special court. He then traveled by economy class.
In September ‘09, the ministry had asked 12 judges led by Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan, to return 610 Australian Dollars (Rs 25,242), provided to each by the Australian Federal Court.