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  1. The Patient has a right to detailed medical records and Hospital Authorities have a duty to provide the same under Right to Information Act, 2005, Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Medical Council Act and world medical ethics. The Central Information Commission recommended Public Authority of Hospital to develop a time frame mechanism of disclosure of medical records to patients or their relatives with safeguards for privacy and confidentiality of the patient. Extending principle derived from Articles 21 and 19 of our Constitution, a consumer of medical services too has a right to know what treatment was given to him/her, what were the reports of diagnostic tests, what were the opinions expressed by doctors or specialists, why he/she was kept in hospital etc. Consumer’s right to information extends both to the products and services, including medical service. Right to detailed medical records The Medical Council of India has imposed an obligation on Hospitals as per the regulations notified on 11th March 2002, amended up to December 2010 to maintain the medical record and provide patient access to it. 1.3.2. If any request is made for medical records either by the patients/authorised attendant or legal authorities involved, the same may be duly acknowledged and documents shall be issued within the period of 72 hours. Hon’ble Kerala High Court recognizing the above principle in Rajappan Vs. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science and Technology [iLR2004(2)Kerala150] had observed that It is also to be noticed that Regulations do not provide any immunity for any medical record to be retained by any medical practitioner of the hospital from being given to the patient. On the other hand it is expressly provided that a patient should be given medical records in Appendix 3 with supporting documents. Therefore in the absence of any immunity either under the Regulations or under any other law, the respondent­ Hospital is bound to give photocopies of the entire documents of the patient. There should be absolute transparency with regard to the treatment of a patient and a patient or victim's relative is entitled to get copies of medical records. After making a detailed examination, Central Information Commission holds that the patient has a right to detailed medical records about treatment under Section 3 of the RTI Act and also under Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Is it “life and liberty” issue? The Commission holds that information regarding medical records especially when patient is disputing her stay and treatment is concerning life and liberty of the appellant. Whether claim of Sec 8 (1)(h) exception valid? It is mandatory for the public authority to show that the disclosure of the information would in fact, impede the process of investigation. During the hearing at CIC, neither the PIO nor the Appellate Authority tried to substantiate points as to how the disclosure of her own medical record would hamper the process of investigation. They did not even attempt to explain what the charge against her was and what investigation was pending. An empty claim of exception under section 8(1)(h) cannot entitle the authority to refuse the information for which the appellant has right both under Right to Information Act, 2005 and Consumer Protection Act 1986. In view of the above, this Commission did not accept the contention of the respondent authority that the information sought by the appellant was exempt under section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act as this is with reference to the appellant’s life and liberty, who was kept in detention by the respondent/institute and she has every right to have the information about the treatment meted out to her during her detention in the respondent/institute. It is not third party information. More so, the respondent/institute cannot invoke the ground of exemption under section 8(1)(h), as there is no evidence to show that any inquiry pending against the appellant. The Public Authority being an Institute/hospital has a legal responsibility to share the information about her treatment and medical check up etc. The Commission was of the view that the patient’s right to obtain his medical record is not only protected under RTI Act, but also under the regulation of Indian Medical Council, which is based on world medical ethics, and also as a ‘consumer’ under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as explained above. It is the duty of the doctor/Hospital to develop a mechanism whereby the copy of patients medical record from his joining to his discharge be provided to him or his legal representative even without him asking as a matter of routine procedure at the time of discharge as directed by Bombay High Court in above referred case. The Commission exercising its powers under Section 25(5) of RTI Act, recommended the Public Authority IHBAS to develop a mechanism for disclosure of medical records to patients or his relatives in a time frame with proper protection to confidentiality and privacy as ordained by RTI Act, preferably in the lines of judgment of Bombay High Court. The Commission recommends that when a patient or his near relative demands from the Hospital or the doctor the copies of the case papers, it is necessary for the Hospital authorities and the doctors concerned to furnish copies of such case papers to the patient or his near relative. The case citation can be read here: Ms.Nisha Priya Bhatia Vs. Institute of HB&AS, GNCTD, File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/001681­SA dated 23­-07­-2014 You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website!
  2. How many times have you heard that your Ration card is deactivated because we have not put our finger prints properly or we might not have been available at the places of our residence, when the Food Inspector went for verification, etc. And how many times have we heard that Public Distribution System is not in a position to inform, the reasons for deactivating the ration cards, except saying that the card is active or inactive, as indicated by computer generated sheet. You may read many such questions asked over our site here! Not any more if the decision of Central Information Commission is complied by Deptt. Of Food & Supply, soon you shall be able to know the Reasons for deactivating the Ration Card. The Commission directed Public Distribution System, Deptt of Food & Supply GNTD Delhi in one case that they should develop such a computer programme which not only reveals the activity status of the ration card, but also the reasons for deactivating the ration card, so that the aggrieved card holder can make a representation or fulfill the deficiency, if any. If you have queries on Ration card and use of RTI for Ration Card, please post it at our forum here! Reasons for deactivating the Ration Card The RTI applicant Shri Satai Ram wife had applied for the ration card, under National Food Security Act which is under consideration. The Commission observed that there are a number of such RTI applications from the BPL families wherein mostly the common complaint is that their ration cards were inactivated without any reason and the Commission has been hearing a general reply from the Department of Food Supply, who say that the applicants might have not have put their finger prints properly or might not have been available at the places of their residence, when the Food Inspector went for verification, etc. The Department of Food Supply is never in a position to inform the Commission, the reasons for deactivating the ration cards, except saying that the card is active or inactive, as indicated by computer generated sheet. The decision can be read here! Sh. Satai Ram Vs. Dept. of Food & Supply, GNCTD), File No.CIC/AD/A/2013/001097­SA dated 13-06-2014. This article has been taken from the decision of CIC available on the website. Do you have anything to add to the story, please post it in the comments below.
  3. As reported by Ashutosh Shukla at dnaindia.com on Feb 10, 2011 The lack of transparency in housing showed at a two-day RTI camp at the K/East ward to promote RTI awareness saw 80% of 120 queries on SRA, redevelopment matters. The rest were personal complaints. “I live in Andheri and want to know of redevelopment happening in my area,” said Kiran Vasani, an Andheri resident. Organisers said that of the 60-70 enquiries they got on a daily basis, it was a positive thing to see that people have moved from personal complaints to ones related to society and locality based.
  4. As reported by Syed Khalique Ahmed at indianexpress.com on Feb 10 2011 In order to ensure that even people living in remote villages are able to use the RTI Act and seek information from various government agencies, the State Information Commission (SIC) and Gujarat Adhikar Mahiti Pahal (MAGP) have joined hands. SIC and MAGP are imparting training to members and sarpanchs of village panchayats in RTI rules. They are helping panchayats, anganwadis and health centres in displaying a set of 17 manuals outside their offices, informing people what specific information, how, from whom and where they can collect. Currently, the project is being implemented in selected villages of the most backward districts of Banaskantha, Kutch, Surendranagar, Narmada, Tapi and Dangs. Seminars in these districts are being organised. MAGP coordinator Pankti Jog told The Indian Express that officials at all the district and taluka headquarters as also at village level needed to display the ‘proactive disclosure templates’ outside their offices, informing the people from where and how to seek information with regard to various social welfare schemes and subsidies available under different public welfare schemes. But it was not being done anywhere in the state. Though the project was initiated only a month ago, Jog said people had begun complaining about problems at fair price shops, health centres and anganwadis in their areas. She said that from March onward, ‘Mahiti melas’ (information fares) will be organised at all talukas in these districts where information related to welfare schemes and developmental programmes would be disseminated through pamphlets. Information officers from different departments will be present there to guide people in filing RTI applications and collect them. According to Jog, the project will be extended to other districts after it is completed in these six districts. SIC in-charge secretary K S Diwan said that displaying information about the public authorities responsible for various schemes and whom to approach to seek information would really help in empowerment of the people at the grassroots level. “We would cover all the villages across the state in due course of time,” he said. Banskantha District Collector R J Patel said the response at the RTI seminars was huge from the village panchayat members, particularly women.
  5. Atul Patankar

    DU students sensitized about RTI Act

    As reported at indiaedunews.net on December 19, 2009 New Delhi: Delhi University's Hindu College, College of Business Studies, Amity Law School and two South Campus colleges are hosting workshops organized by the United Nations Development Programme and The YP Foundation on Right to Information. Hans Raj College was the first venue chosen by the organizers where it started its first series of six workshops to be held till February 2010. Explaining its role in increasing awareness about the Right To Information (RTI), UNDP Assistant Country Director (Democratic Governance) Sumeeta Banerji said, "We have been spreading awareness about the RTI among the people and also building capacities of public information officers as part of a programme between the UNDP and the Indian Government. This year the UNDP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime also became part of a global campaign against corruption." The UNDP has been engaging the youth in this regard to increase their awareness and information to combat corruption While the UNDP is funding the RTI workshops, The YP Foundation has provided facilitators for the same. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative first trained the YP Foundation facilitators for three months in the RTI Act and it is after this period that they interacted with the students and gauged their knowledge quotient on the Act. The YP Foundation RTI branch coordinator Ila Reddy said that, "Although many students know that the Act exists but only few of them have an in depth knowledge about it. By interacting with the students, we augmented the knowledge they already had about the Act and also corrected myths or misconceptions." Workshop participants were also made to write mock RTI applications. By responding to questions such as "Do you think the RTI Act is useful?" and "Can the Act help to prevent corruption", students gained crucial knowledge about the Act. The participants were eagerly involved in the workshop and wanted to know if the Act was friendly to the handicapped, the time duration a public information officer had to respond to an application, grounds for rejection of applications and steps to be taken in case of rejection of applications. Another participant, Sheetal Yadav, added, "I was not aware before attending this workshop that we cannot file an RTI application to gain information about the workings of private institutions. It was the most crucial information for me to pick up." Source: http://www.indiaedunews.net/Delhi/DU_students_sensitized_about_RTI_Act_9945/
  6. As reported at ahmedabadmirror.com on November 12, 2009 Software giant Microsoft has joined hands with three Gujarat-based welfare organisations to give IT training to people who don’t have access to technology, mainly computers. The American company, through its division Microsoft Community Affairs, has tied up with Aga Khan Foundation, Mahila Sewa Trust and Saath Charitable Trust. One of the key objectives of the initiative, called ‘Project Jyoti’, is to teach people how to obtain information under the RTI Act. “We have set up Community Technology Learning Centres (CTLCs) across the state to provide technological support to people living in rural areas,” Vikas Goswami, who leads Microsoft’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, said. Goswami said that each centre had been set up keeping in mind the needs of its region. The IT coordinator of Aga Khan Foundation, Shiji Abraham, said that CTLCs had enabled people in rural areas to seek information under the RTI Act. “There is little awareness on RTI in rural areas. However, Microsoft’s initiative is helping people obtain a lot of information under the act.” Abraham said. Goswami said that the poor had been able to find out why their names were missing in government’s BPL list. “Some people even surfed the internet at (CTLC) and found out how to get their names included in the list,” she said. Goswami said that at each CTLC, two care-takers helped people find relevant information and submit documents to avail benefits provided by the government. To date, Microsoft has spent Rs 47 crore to extend this programme to 20 states and union terrotories across the country. Among other things, the initiative also focuses on providing IT training to unemployed youth, marginalised women and other people. Source: Microsoft initiative helps people seek info under RTI, News - Business - Ahmedabad Mirror,Ahmedabad Mirror
  7. As reported at dnaindia.com on October 30, 2009 The Right to Information Act is intended at making information shrouded in red-tapism and official apathy available to the public. However, many experts feel the Act is yet to yield the desired results. N Vikramsimha, an RTI activist and trustee of Mahiti Hakku Adhiyan Kendra (MHAK), says that even though only a small number of people seek information under RTI, there is a piling up of applications because they are not cleared promptly. He says that there is also a need to change the mindset of public information officers to make the RTI Act effective. How aware are Bangaloreans about RTI? In August last year, we conducted a survey of 5,000 people. Only 3% of the surveyed population was aware of RTI. Some said that they never used the RTI because they felt it helps only the media to get information. Probably, there is greater awareness now, but a lot still needs to be done. When we started two years ago, we were hoping to use the RTI Act to get information related to taxation. We thought taxation would be a major concern, but we got only about 5-6 applications. People were keen on more information regarding law violation, encroachment, and land problems and disputes. Now, the RTI has become a tool for people to settle grievances. According to a national survey, the Bangalore and Delhi municipalities receive the most number of RTI applications — about 6,000 to 7,000 per year. The information commissions are not able to clear the applications fast enough. But if only a small number of people are using the RTI, why are the applications piling up? In a process, there are several dynamics at play. All the RTI applications filed with the BBMP get held up at the information commission. This clogs the entire process. Delay in dissemination of information affects people in the rural areas. They do not have access to the internet, since their areas face electricity shortage. Filing an RTI application then becomes an excruciating task for them. Is filing an RTI application a cumbersome process? It is not. The whole process is very simple. It looks difficult because the PIOs (public information officers) make it seem difficult. They wait till the 29th day to inform the applicants about the status of their applications. (PIOs have to respond within 30 days to RTI applications). It has now become a practice to delay the process of giving out information. Why is obtaining information under RTI Act so difficult? I think it is because of a set mindset. The officers need to see themselves as public servants or those serving the people. They are accountable to the people, but they forget that. They often feel they are accountable only to their managers. There is a need for that mindset to change. In fact, interestingly, even countries where the RTI concept has been in vogue for 30-40 years are grappling with that kind of mindset. Source: 'Public info officers make RTI process difficult' - dnaindia.com
  8. We are a Himachal based NGO and we are going to organise debates /declamation on RTI to create awareness in school and colleges. If you guys could suggest me some topics, it would be great help.
  9. As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 07 April 2009 PATNA: Ranjit Kumar of Vaishali has formed a group of youths who are making villagers at blocks and panchayat levels aware about the Right to Information (RTI) and trying to solve their problems related to various government offices through this mechanism. It includes listing of names in BPL list, scholarship to students, old age pension, ration, Indira Awas units etc. Similarly, Sunil Jha of Darbhanga made it a point that all the government offices in his block should declare names of information officers and now his group is doing this at district level. These two youth narrated the efforts they have made in the larger interest of the poor and illiterate people who have very little information about the RTI. They were among 70 members of the Bihar Right to Information Manch who gathered here at the Youth Hostel. The meeting was chaired by Manch convener Parveen Amanullah. The members listed the problems people were facing in seeking information from the government offices. They alleged that despite three years of implementation of the Act, most of the information officers were not providing full information within the prescribed time limit and closed the matter. Source: RTI workers campaign to enlighten villagers - Patna - Cities - The Times of India
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