Reversing its earlier stand, the government on Wednesday said spouses of Supreme Court judges, accompanying them on official foreign trips abroad are entitled to a daily allowance.
The clarification by the ministry of law and justice, contradicts its earlier stand, spelt out in a Right to Information reply on January 13.
“In regard to foreign official visits of the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the Supreme Court, this department has sanctioned only air passages for the accompanying spouse and no other allowance,” the department of justice had said in response to an RTI query by Subhash Chandra Aggarwal.
The department, in its clarification, however, has now said it “deeply regretted” the erroneous impression, created by the “incomplete” reply.
“It is hereby clarified that on the basis of the sanctions 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,” said the justice department release.
“The ministry of finance has clarified further that under the rules there is no difference in the entitlement of an officials on a tour abroad or a member of his family ... authorised to accompany him,” it said.
The SC Secretary General (SG) M.P. Bhadran had responded to the RTI reply, in which the justice department had said: “The Supreme Court SG has recently requested to issue revised sanction allowing daily allowances to the spouse of Chief Justice of India for six days’ visit to Dublin and London from 12th October to 18th October, 2009.”
Bhadran had refuted this, “The government has been granting daily allowances to the accompanying spouses of the CJI and other judges. It has been providing the allowance to spouses when they go abroad.”
“It is incorrect to say that so far government was providing only air tickets to the spouses ... and that no other allowance has been sanctioned by the Department of Justice,” the SG said on Friday. CJI K.G. Balakrishnan, in an interview to HT, had dismissed the issue as “a silly interpretation by some government official”.