Where Your Taxes Go: 33

On foreign holidays for our esteemed judges. CNN-IBN reports:

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, KG Balakrishnan, wants judges to be kept out of the purview of the Right To Information (RTI) Act.

Now an RTI application put in by CNN-IBN has thrown up interesting details of how judges have extended their holidays, often for personal purposes, at Government expense.

Ironically, the urge to travel starts at the top. Balakrishnan, after taking over as Chief Justice, made at least seven trips abroad in 2007 traveling First Class with his wife with the air fare alone costing over Rs 39 lakh.

For instance, during his 11-day trip to Pretoria, South Africa in August 2007, the Chief Justice took the following route – Delhi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Capetown, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, where the judge finally didn’t go and returned via Dubai to Delhi.

Sure, a judge might need to make an official trip to study the judicial system of another country or something, but this is clearly tourist travel happening here, and according to the CNN-IBN reporter, there are “government rules that say judges cannot be accompanied by wives on work tours.” When the law minister HR Bhardwaj was asked about this, he replied:

How can you deprive the wife? You are a woman. You should understand.

I hereby demand that all Indian women be sent to South Africa for a holiday paid for by HR Bhardwaj out of his personal savings account. Thank you.

(Link via email from reader Shyam. For more on how our government loots us, check out my Taxes Archive.)