Delhi police and GNCTD failed to provide a viscera report for over two-and-a-half years despite repeated reminders. Such inefficient practices are fertile ground for complete wrongdoing to go scot-free, the CIC noted. This is the 75th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while disposing an appeal, expressed concern over the “absurd state of affairs” where the Delhi police and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) could not provide a viscera report for over two-and-a-half years, despite repeated reminders.
While giving this a judgement on 19 November 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “In the instant case over thirty months have already elapsed and yet the Viscera Report has not been given in spite of repeated reminders. Such inefficient practices are fertile ground for complete wrong doing to go scot-free.”
Karnal (Haryana) resident KK Sharma, on 5 July 2010, sought clarification as to his wife's death in Batra Hospital, the doctor's role and the post mortem report under the Right to Information (RTI) Act from the PIO of DMC.
Here is the reply given by the PIO...
1. It is informed that complaint No. 493 of Shri KK Sharma against doctors of Batra Hospital was under consideration of Delhi Medical Council.
2. That the Disciplinary Committee of the Delhi Medical Council has ordered the seeking of the post mortem report from the Police Station, Ambedkar Nagar. In pursuance of the same notice was sent to the SHO, Police Station, Ambedkar Nagar on 26 November 2008 and on 31 December 2008. Two reminders were also sent, one on 20 March 2009 and the other on 12 May 2009. Similar notice was sent to the Joint Commissioner of Police, Southern Range, Delhi Police on 2 July 2009.
3. A letter was sent to the Directorate of Health Services, Govt of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) dated 29 September 2009 and again a letter was sent dated 27 January 2010 wherein attested copy of the following was requested:
(a) Post Mortem report No. 304/08 dated 27 March 2008.
(b) Opinion as to cause of death in respect of Post mortem report No.304/08.
(c) Viscera analysis report including records of Batra Hospital to determine the issue of medical negligence as in the absence of the said documents, the Delhi Medical Council is unable to proceed in the matter. As on date of reply of the PIO i.e. on 13/07/2010, the above mentioned documents were not received by the PIO.
The PIO also observed that the queries raised by the applicant in his RTI application are in the nature of grievance redressal which is beyond the scope of the RTI Act in term of section 2(l) and (j) of the said Act.
Not satisfied with the reply, Sharma filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) while disposing off the appeal, made following observations.
(1) The PlO has rightly observed that all issues which are or may be the subject matter of complaint being under consideration of the Delhi Medical Council and cannot be commented upon by the PlO.
(2) The queries raised by the applicant in his RTI application are in the nature of grievance redressal, which is outside the scope of the RTI Act in term of section 2 (l) and section 2(j) of the said Act.
(3) The information provided to the appellant by the Public Information Officer was based on the information available on the records of DMC and in terms of Section 2(f) and section 2(j) of the Act.
Again not satisfied with the reply from both the FAA and PIO, the applicant (Sharma) filed his second appeal before the CIC.
During the hearing, the Commission observed that the appellant (Sharma) had alleged medical negligence in the death of his wife and filed a complaint in June 2008 to the Directorate of Health Services (DHS). This complaint was forwarded to Delhi Medical Council on 10 June 2008. The Delhi Medical Council set up a Disciplinary Committee to look into the matter. The Disciplinary Committee came to the conclusion that it needed a copy of the viscera report to decide on the issue.
The PIO submitted before the Commission that in spite of repeated efforts the DMC has not been able to get the final cause of death because of the pending viscera report.
He stated that “With reference to your application received in this office on 5 July 2010, on the subject noted above, based on the records available in the office of Delhi Medical Council, it is informed that complaint No493 of KK Sharma against doctors of Batra Hospital is still under consideration of Delhi Medical Council. In the last hearing held in this case on 2 November 2008, the Disciplinary Committee of Delhi Medical Council has directed that efforts be made towards seeking copy of post-mortem report from Police Station at Ambedkar Nagar. In pursuance to the said direction of Disciplinary Committee, a notice was sent to SHO Police Station Ambedkar Nagar on 26 November 2008 and again on 31 December 2008. A second reminder was sent on 20 March 2009 and third reminder was sent on 12 May 2009. A letter in this regard was also sent to Commissioner of Police, Southern Range, Delhi Police on 2 July 2009. The matter was also brought to the notice of Directorate of Health Services, GNCTD on 29 September 2009 and again on 27 January 2010 wherein it was requested that attested copy of (a) Post Mortem report No. 304/08 dated 27.3.2008 (b) Opinion as to cause of death in respect of Post mortem report No. 304/08. (c) Viscera Analysis report, including medical records of Batra Hospital be provided to the office of Delhi Medical Council as the examination of the same are essential for determining the issue of medical negligence and in absence of the said documents, the Delhi Medical Council is unable to proceed in this matter. It is further informed that as on date, the aforementioned documents are still awaited in the office of Delhi Medical Council.”
“It is also observed that all issues which are or may be the subject matter of complaint No. 493 or connected therewith or incidental thereto being under consideration of the Delhi Medical Council cannot be commented upon by the PIO,” he stated.
Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the PIO was unable to inform the applicant about the final outcome because the Disciplinary Committee could not conclude the matter in absence of the viscera report and the Delhi Medical Council has been pursuing this matter with the Delhi Police and Delhi Government without success.
“The Commission would like to comment that it is an absurd state of affairs that the viscera report is not been supplied for over two-and-half years and endless efforts are being made in this regard. The PIO confirms that normally it should not take more than three months to get the viscera report,” the CIC said.
The Commission then disposed the appeal.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Appellant : KK Sharma
Respondent : LDS Uppal
Public Information Officer & Asst. Secretary
Delhi Medical Council
3rd Floor, Pathology Block
Maulana Azad Medical College,
Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg,
Dr Nita Mukherjee finds selfless volunteering for looking after children afflicted with cancer
After a 24-year long career with Unilever in UK, when Nihal Kaviratne returned home to Mumbai with wife Shyama, they were toying with the idea of doing ‘something meaningful’ in the social sector. They had an abiding interest in welfare of destitute children. Philanthropy was in their genes—their parental families had a long tradition of charitable work. Ms Kaviratne’s family ran Bal Anand, a school for destitute children; Mr Kaviratne’s family supported various catholic orphanages.
In their interactions with many associations helping poor cancer patients, the one yawning gap they found was clean shelters for patients who came to cities for treatment. In one of their visits to Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai), they were “horrified to find patients living on the pavements outside the Hospital.” A situation that often resulted in patients, already debilitated with radio- and chemo-therapy, contracting secondary infections that delayed and hampered their recovery.
The Kaviratnes decided that this was the niche they would work at filling—to provide a safe and clean living space for children to recuperate during their cancer treatment. Mr Kaviratne says, “Depressed minds and immune systems combine with a lack of hygiene to reduce survival rate.” Thus was born the St Jude India ChildCare Centres, as a Section 25 company, in February 2006 that provides completely free stay for children, under 15 years, with two family members, during their treatment period at Tata Memorial. The first St Jude Centre, at Mhaksar Hospital (Mumbai), for eight children was funded totally by the Kaviratnes. The emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness is visible at all St Jude Centres. “This is the one thing we are obsessive about,” says Manisha Parthasarathy, a volunteer managing committee member.
The Kaviratnes decided to ‘perfect their model’ before replicating it elsewhere. It took them 20 months. Today, St Jude has seven Centres in Mumbai (with 79 units) and one in Kolkata (17 units). They plan to set up Centres in Jaipur and Delhi in 2013-14 and expansion plans include Bengaluru and Pune, amongst other cities. Each unit has a bed, cupboard and shelves for a child and two adults. Toilets, baths, dining & recreation/activity areas and kitchen are common. Each family is provided a gas stove, basic utensils and ‘starter pack’ of staples on admission and given weekly basic nutritional support comprising atta, tur dal, oil and milk powder. Additional vegetables, etc, have to be arranged by each family. St Jude has a list of possible donors who the families can approach for support. “Every year, more than 5,000 children travel to Mumbai to get treated for cancer. St Jude has admitted over 2,600 children since we started in 2006,” says Manisha. Admission is strictly on the basis of reference from Tata Memorial Hospital, regardless of religion or community.
Mr Kaviratne emphasised St Jude’s 3-circle approach to cancer care: medical, physical and emotional. This is explained to volunteers and their skills and time allocated to one of these circles. Says Manisha, “Although we are an NGO, we are run completely professionally. This is due to our systems and procedures. Every centre has an identical look and processes.”
St Judes has FCRA registration to raise foreign funds and donations are tax-exempt under Section 80G. It encourages online donations in three currencies; US$, euro (through PayPal) and UK£ (via Charity Choice).
2nd floor, Indian Cancer Society
The blast occurred around 10.30am when the BJP office is normally brimming with party workers and candidates. Today is the last day for filing of nominations for the assembly elections, scheduled for 5th May
At least 16 people, including eight policemen, were injured when an “incendiary bomb” placed in a motorbike exploded near the Karnataka BJP Bangalore office buzzing with activity ahead of the 5th May assembly polls.
The policemen were on security duty as part of the bandobast arrangements for the BJP office in view of the polls when the explosion ripped through the crowded area damaging two vans, a Karnataka State Reserve Police vehicle and a motorbike, top police officials said.
“Due to the blast, 16 people are injured—eight policemen on duty and eight civilians. Nobody is critically injured. All are being treated at hospital,” state DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau told reporters.
A National Investigative Agency (NIA) team has arrived in Bangalore, he said, adding, forensic experts would also be joining them. “As of now, we do not know what is the material of the bomb blast. We will know after examination,” he said.
The blast occurred around 10.30am when the BJP office is normally brimming with party workers and candidates. Today is the last day for filing of nominations.
City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar, citing preliminary investigation, said, “It is an explosion”, adding a motorbike with an “incendiary bomb” was used. The bike was planted in the midst of cars, he said.
Police said “explosive and incendiary materials” were used. According to them, police personnel were injured as they rushed out of their vehicle parked near the party office on seeing the vehicles going up in flames.
Initial reports had said the explosion could have been caused by an LPG cylinder fitted to a car. According to eye witnesses, a loud noise was heard and some vehicles went up in flames, sending the people to flee in panic. Police have cordoned off the area.
With the state going to assembly polls on 5th May, the BJP office, located in a residential locality, is abuzz with activity for the past few weeks.