The Government of Maharashtra approved and sanctioned, in a highly unusual move, an allowance of Rs. 50,000 per annum for Bombay High Court Judges and their families to buy spectacles.
A Government Resolution (GR) dated 10th July 2020, was released by the Department of Law and Judiciary, signed by Legal Advisor and Joint Secretary Yogesh Ameta stating that the sum was calculated to cover the cost of buying glasses/eyewear for judges, their spouses, and other dependent family members.
The said GR stated-
"Now, under this Government Resolution, approval is being hereby granted to purchase spectacles/spectacle for the Hon'ble Judges of the Bombay High Court and their spouses and their family members dependent on the Hon'ble Judges, in the maximum limit of an amount of Rs.50,000/- every year jointly or severally and for the recurring expenditure to be incurred, therefore, the expenditure to be incurred therefore shall be debited under the Account Head "Demand No. J-1, 2014 Administration of Justice (00), 102 High Courts(01)(01) Judges(Mandatory)(2014 0065) 13 office expenditure" and shall be defrayed from the grant sanctioned for the concerned financial year."
It is further explained that the said GR was released with the Competent Authority's approval from the Department of Finance dated 24th June 2020, and with the authorization dated 10th July 2020. The purchasing policy prescribed by the government from time to time will be complied with while making the said purchases, the GR states.
The reimbursement for spectacles was first discussed five to six months ago with the then Chief Secretary Ajoy Mehta. After a little back-and-forth, the amount of Rs 50,000 was finalized to everybody’s satisfaction.
Mr.Mehta, now an advisor to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Legal Advisor Ameta remained unavailable for comment on Tuesday, 21st July 2020.
According to the High Court Judges Act (Salaries and Terms of Service), each judge and his / her family members are entitled to "such facilities as may be required from time to time for medical care and hospital accommodation." A retired judge and members of his / her family are too entitled to medical / hospitalization facilities, according to the Act, in parallel with a retired Central Civil Services officer, Class I. Sitting judges are also entitled to the actual reimbursement of the medicines they may buy.