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In 19 Months, Govt Rejected 1 in 4 Requests by High Court Judges to Go Abroad

This is in contrast to the Supreme Court judges whose requests were cleared without any exception between January 2016 and June 2017.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:November 19, 2017, 11:18 AM IST
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In 19 Months, Govt Rejected 1 in 4 Requests by High Court Judges to Go Abroad
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New Delhi: Flying out has not come easy for High Court judges in the country.

One in every four High Court judges has failed to get a nod from the central government to go abroad for official purposes.

This is in contrast to the Supreme Court judges whose requests were cleared without any exception between January 2016 and June 2017.

Information accessed through RTI by CNN-News18 demonstrates that the government approved all the requests received from the Supreme Court judges’ offices, but the High Court judges were not just as lucky.

Eleven out of 44 requests by the High Court judges were turned down between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. The rate of denial for the permission comes out to be one-fourth.

In the same period, the government received 23 requests from the Supreme Court judges and all these were approved.

The RTI reply received from the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry clarifies that official foreign visit of Supreme Court and High Court judges are sanctioned at the level of Minister of Law and Justice, Finance Minister and Prime Minister.

The sanction for official foreign visits are given after the government officials examine such requests and arrive at a decision that the events, which may include seminar, lectures, conferences, meet the protocol of visits by the judges of Indian constitutional courts, besides other criteria of judicial discipline. Even for the private foreign trips, the Department of Justice has a set of guidelines for judges.

Responding to the RTI application, the Department of Justice has given a break-up of the requests received from the Supreme Court and High Court judges and the sanctions issued in accordance with the norms.

During 2016, sanctions have been issued for 17 judges of the Supreme Court, with as many requests made. On the other hand, 28 High Court judges sought the approval, but the government cleared only 23, rejecting five others.

The RTI response added that till June 30, 2017 sanctions were issued for six judges of the Supreme Court, whereas in cases of high court judges, out of 16 requests, only 10 were cleared.

Thus, over a span of 19 months, the government declined permission to 11 High Court judges to go abroad on official foreign visits on various grounds, but primarily because the reason of their visits and the invitations sent to these judges failed to satisfy the protocol.

In August last year, the Delhi High Court had come out with a first-of-its-kind circular to curb the movements of over 300 judges in Delhi. The circular asked all the judges in Delhi district courts not to go abroad even if they were on official leave.
| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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