The Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench while setting aside an order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) held that the said commissioner cannot issue mandatory direction for the purpose of reimbursement for medical treatment.

The CIC in this matter had disposed of an application and issued a direction that the amount spent by the applicant on his father’s medical treatment be reimbursed.

A Division Bench of Justice Sangeeta Chandra and Justice Manish Kumar said, “A direction was issued that the said amount should be reimbursed forthwith and the matter was disposed of. Such an order having been passed completely without jurisdiction and ignorance of the Act and the Rules is set side.”

A Standing Counsel appeared on behalf of the petitioner while Advocate Shikhar Anand appeared for the CIC.

In this case, an RTI applicant made an application to CIC to take stern action against a Special Secretary to the Chief Minister and sought for reimbursing a sum of Rs. 1,30,000/- as financial assistance to him. A copy of the said application was sent to the Office of the Principal Secretary, attached to the Office of the Chief Minister by the CIC with a direction that some financial assistance be provided to the applicant for spending some money towards treatment of his father.

According to necessary information sent to the applicant, earlier application for compensation had been sent to the District Magistrate for verification and that the applicant was able to submit Rs. 21, 367/- out of a total sum of Rs. 1,50,000/- relating to the private hospital’s medical expenses. The CIC issued direction to Public Information Officer (PIO) for payment of Rs. 21,000/- against vouchers produced by the applicant as a result of which PIO filed a plea in the High Court.

The High Court after hearing the arguments of the counsel observed, “This Court has perused the order impugned and finds that no reason has been assigned at all for passing such order by the opposite party no. 2. The opposite party no. 2 has only noted that the Under Secretary of the Office of the Hon'ble Chief Minister was present in person and that he had vouchers of Rs. 21,000/- that the opposite party no. 1 has alleged to have spent on the treatment of his father.”

Accordingly, the Court allowed the writ petition and set aside the order of CIC.

Cause Title- Public Information Officer v. Raj Kumar and Anr.

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