It refers to media-reports about an RTI response highlighting shocking revelation on Supreme Court judges and other VVIP guests having been served in silver utensils and also given costly gifts at ‘Retreat of Judges’ programme between 14th to 17th April 2016 held at Bhopal (MP). Even a caterer from far-away city Indore is said to have been specially arranged for the luxurious feast hosted by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister while Bhopal being the state-capital itself has many good hotels, caterers and even a government-institute for training in hotel-management.
In a country like India where farmers are committing suicide and commoners are living a hard life because of rising prices with limited income, it is shameful if true that Supreme Court judges and others may enjoy monarchy-like feast hosted by a state Chief Minister getting costly gifts also. Propriety demanded that all such super-privileged VVIP guests must have declined such princely treatment and gifts. Chief Justice of India should clarify the exact and detailed position in this regard to maintain dignity of judiciary mentioning also if spouses of judges also attended the event.
Complete details of expenses including place of stay arranged by any of the public-authority including state-government, National Judicial Academy (NJA) and others should be made public. It is indeed ridiculous if NJA instead of responding to RTI petition is asking about definition of words like ‘hospitality’ and ‘guests’. Directions must be given for simplicity to be maintained at any such event attended by not only judges of higher courts but also by others at public-expense.
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
1775 Kucha Lattushah
Dariba, Chandni Chowk
New Delhi-110006 (India)