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Shree Vathsan

ICU Deaths at Govt Hospital due Power Outage


Shree Vathsan

A couple of months back 3 people had died in Madurai Govt Rajaji Hospital ICU Ward due to power failure and non functioning of power back up systems. An internal enquiry had been order by the Dean. 

I filed and RTI seeking for copies of bills and maintainence done on the power back up systems in the last 2 years. I had also sought a copy of the internal enquiry report. 

The PIO has denied entire  information citing a Writ Petition WP 11887/2019  moved in the Madurai High Court bench in this regard. 

I had filed a first appeal citing a CIC decision that mere pendency of investigation cannot be used to invoke Sec 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act and there is larger public interest in this matter. 

 However The FAA has failed to concur with me and held that the term "investigation" should be understood liberally and broadly and even internal enquiries are exempted from disclosure until investigation is complete under Sec 8(1)(h) . FAA has quoted that in Sarvesh Kaushal Vs Food Corporation of India and others CIC  has held that departmental enquiry are exempted pending disposal of enquiry. 

Kindly help me draft a good Second Appeal 

Edited by Shree Vathsan

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Prasad GLN

The only option is going for second appeal.

I am surprised as SPIO has stated "subjudice" and FAA has invented investigation for denial of information.  That information which impede the progress of investigation is only exempted, and SPIO is under obligation to justify how that information to this specific applicant impede the process of investigation.  Departmental enquiries are different, as there the charge sheeted employee may bring pressures on witness etc.  Above all the information is on larger public interest and there are no exemptions under RTI for such disclosures in larger public interest.

You may state above grounds and you will certainly get a favourable decision. 

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Sunil Ahya

You may find the following citation useful:

Judgment of Delhi High Court (Ravinder Bhat J.) - In WP No. 33114/2007 (Shri Bhagat Singh Vs. Chief Information Commissioner & Ors) - Access to information under Section 3 of the Act, is the rule and exemptions under Section 8, the exception. Section 8 being a restriction on this fundamental right, must therefore is to be strictly construed. It should not be interpreted in manner as to shadow the very right self. Under Section 8, exemption from releasing information is granted if it would impede the process of investigation process cannot be a ground for refusal of the information, the authority withholding information must show satisfactory reasons as to why the release of such information would hamper the investigation process. Such reasons should be germane, and the opinion of the process being hampered should be reasonable and based on some material. Sans this consideration, section 8(1) (h) and other such provisions would become the haven for dodging demands for information.

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