New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has directed the Health Ministry to make public expenses incurred on the treatment of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee within 15 days.
While hearing a petition of an RTI applicant who sought details of funds spent on treatment of the 88-year-old ailing BJP leader, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said the cost incurred on the medical treatment of the former Prime Minister should be available with the Health Ministry.
Slamming the Ministry for repeatedly transferring the RTI application, the Commissioner said, "we find it surprising that the Ministry did not take pains to locate the information and provide to the appellant and, instead, shuttled around the RTI application from division to another."
Mishra directed the Ministry to "find out information wherever available" and provide it to Moradabad-based RTI applicant who sought the details from the PMO.
His plea was repeatedly transferred to various departments after which he approached the Commission seeking disclosure of the information.
Earlier also, the then Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah had justified disclosure of expenses incurred on the treatment of VIPs saying the funds are given from the state exchequer, hence, should be disclosed.
"Insofar as expenses are concerned, this is indeed information that can be disclosed since the expenses made from the public exchequer are accountable," Habibullah had said.
Vajpayee held the post of Prime Minister on three occasions - in 1996 for 13 days, between 1998-99 for 13 months and between 1999 to 2004 for a complete term. He had undergone a number of treatments including a knee-replacement surgery.