Law ministry unaware of Moily tours

Law ministry unaware of Moily tours

Law ministry unaware of Moily tours

Replying to a Right to Information (RTI) query, chief public information officer of the Law Ministry, B K Bhargava, said: “No information is available with this branch secretariat on the travel of the law minister, the purpose of the travel and the cost incurred.”

The ministry said it was not aware of Moily’s assets and bank balance, adding that he would have declared them in an affidavit at the time of filing his nomination for the Lok Sabha elections this year from Chikkaballapur in Karnataka.

Moily, in his capacity as law minister, visited London recently. He also made several trips to Bangalore.

The Centre said the Attorney General (AG), Solicitor General (SG), Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and other law officers are entitled to the actual expenses of travel, board and lodging during official visits.

Asked whether the AG, SG and the ASG are entitled to executive class travel or five-star accommodation, the reply said: “A law officer is required to conduct tours outside the headquarters in the course of his duties, and he shall be paid or reimbursed the actual expenses incurred on travel, boarding and lodging.’’

Rajeev Aggarwal of Delhi had sought information under the RTI from the government on the functioning of the AG, SG, ASG and the standing counsel as well as their perks and entitlements.

Replying to the RTI query on the duties and responsibilities of the AG, SG and other law officers, Bhargava said information on them had been notified on January 1, 1987, and July 18, 2008, in the official gazette. On payments made to the AG, SG and the ASG by various ministries and public sector undertakings — hinting at payment by the NTPC to these law officers in the Reliance Industries-NTPC gas row — the ministry said: “The office has no information on payments to AG and SG. However, payments to ASG are payable by the litigant department.’’

The ministry also said it had no details about the assets and bank balance of the AG, SG, ASG and the government counsel.