The High Court on Friday dismissed a petition against the State government’s decision to reimburse Housing Minister M H Ambareesh Rs 1.17 crore for medical expenses he incurred in Singapore last year.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice S K Mukherjee and Justice B V Nagarathna dismissed the petition after the government counsel submitted that Rule 10 of the Karnataka Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers Medical Attendance Rules, 1958, gives the government the discretionary power to decide on reimbursing medical expenses.
The petitioners had challenged a government order dated July 11, 2014, on reimbursing Ambareesh Rs 1,16,90,137.
They said the government’s decision to pay such a huge sum to a minister had “burdened” the exchequer.
The minister and his family were financially capable of affording the treatment and there was no need for them to claim reimbursement. Such exorbitant payment on medical and health counts made in favour of the minister sets a bad precedent, and huge public money has been spent without serving any public purpose, they argued. They pleaded that the government quash the said order.
Ambareesh was admitted to Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru in March 2014 after complaining of breathing-related problems.
He was then taken to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for further treatment which cost him more than Rs one crore.