RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: You can get answers within 48 hours if it is a question of life or liberty

In an order issued on 20 August 2010, the CIC asked a public authority to pay a compensation of Rs50,000 to a patient suffering from serious illness for not providing information within 48 hours under Section 7(1) of the RTI Act. This is the first in a series of important judgements given by Shailesh Gandhi, former CIC that can be used in an RTI application


The public information officer (PIO) is bound to furnish information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, within 48 hours if it concerns life or liberty of a person. This was one of the most important decisions given by Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner (CIC).


“The life or liberty provision can be applied only in cases where there is an imminent danger to the life or liberty of a person and the non-supply of the information may either lead to death or grievous injury to the concerned person,” the CIC said in his order in the Puran Chand Vs Directorate of Health Services (DHS), Government of NCT of Delhi case.


Puran Chand, who belongs to the below poverty line (BPL) category, was suffering from compression of spine and needed urgent surgery. He filed an RTI under Section 7(1) after the India Spinal Injury Centre (ISIC) denied him freeship facility that he was entitled to. The ISIC gave him an estimate of Rs1.75 lakh for the operation.


The government has allotted land to certain private hospitals at nominal rates on the condition that they will provide 10% of the beds to patients from the economically weaker section. Puran Chand claimed that he should be given treatment free of cost as he was a BPL card holder. However, the hospital authorities refused to give him admission for free treatment. He said he could not afford to pay Rs1.75 lakh and then on 31 August 2009, filed an application under the RTI seeking information within 48 hours as the matter was involved with his life.


However, the PIO claimed that he received the application only on 2 September 2009 and sought assistance from the Nursing Home Cell. Dr JN Mohanty, MS, Nursing Home Cell received the RTI application on 9 September 2009. He obtained the information from ISIC and sent it on 11 September 2009 to the PIO. The PIO, in turn, sent the information to Puran Chand on 16 September 2009. 


In the meantime, Puran Chand needed to undergo the surgery at the earliest. So, he borrowed money from his relatives and friends and got himself admitted in Ganga Ram Hospital. He was operated on 10 September 2009.


After verifying the facts, the Commission, in its order in August 2010, said it appears that the medical condition of the Complainant (Puran Chand) was grave and required immediate medical attention. “The compression in the spinal cord was serious in nature and if allowed to deteriorate, could have led to the complainant going in a coma. An analysis of the queries in the RTI application reveal that the replies thereto would have enabled the complainant to know whether he would be provided the urgent medical attention at ISIC or would he have to approach some other hospital. The fact that within four days of filing the RTI application, the complainant was forced to approach another hospital for treatment is reflective of the serious nature of his disease. Given the urgent need for medical attention, the Commission finds that the information sought for in the RTI Application does concern the life of the complainant and therefore information should have been provided within 48 hours of receipt of the RTI Application,” the Commission said.


“Further, the complainant belongs to the BPL category and irreparable loss, both physically and financially, was incurred by him due to the careless and insensitive attitude of the PIO. The instant case represents the failure of the delivery system to the poor. The Commission feels that unless all officers and systems can respond in a time bound manner, governance cannot deliver to those who need it the most,” the order said.


Due to the failure of the PIO to provide information sought under Section 7(1) within 48 hours, the Commission asked him to pay a compensation of Rs50,000 to Puran Chand and also provide complete information.




Decision No. CIC/SG/C/2009/001628/9090 Date 20 August 2010

(http://www.rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_C_2009_001628_9090_M_40519.pdf )

Complaint No. CIC/SG/C/2009/001628


Complainant                 :  Mr. Pooran Chand

                                              S/o of Shri Narayan Chand,

                                              D-44, West Vinod Nagar,

                                              New Delhi-110092


Respondent                   :   Dr. G. Kausalya

                                             Public Information Officer & Chief Medical Officer 

                                              Directorate of Health Services

                                              Govt. of NCT of Delhi,

                                              F-17, Karkardooma, New Delhi. 




nagesh kini

4 years ago

The simplest route in RTI is to seek inspection under Sec.4 wherein one can demand the records and papers pay for and collect whatever is relevant to the issue.
At least at MCGM it is welcomed by the PIOs because it does away with the rigours of collating the information, making out a file note, then 'putting up' to the official all within the time limit of 30 days. They will stamp the copies
'Given under RTI'.
The Applicant has to be clear as to what s/he seeks.

Kejriwal's political outfit named Aam Admi Party

The meeting of around 300 founder members was held at Delhi during which Kejriwal proposed the name Aam Admi Party, which was accepted by other members

New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal's party was on Saturday named 'Aam Admi Party' at a meeting of its founder members in Delhi during which the Constitution for the organisation was also adopted, reports PTI.
The meeting of around 300 founder members was held at Constitution Club during which Kejriwal proposed the name of the party which was accepted by other members, sources said.
The Constitution of the party was also adopted at the meeting. It was proposed by Mayank Gandhi and seconded by Chandramohan, they said.
The formation of the party came after a bitter split with Anna Hazare over the question of the anti-corruption movement taking a political plunge as Kejriwal desired.
During the August fast, Hazare and Kejriwal ended the agitation saying they will work for providing a political alternative for the country to fight both Congress and BJP.
However, both Hazare and Kejriwal announced parting of ways on September 19 following differences over forming a party with the former sticking to his position that the movement should remain apolitical.
On October two, Kejriwal announced the formation of the party saying its official launch will be on November 26, the day Constitution was adopted in 1949.
Ahead of the meeting, Kejriwal said today that common men, women, children are forming their party.
"They are not politicians. They are fed up of politicians. They are the people who are fed up of corruption and price rise. This is why the common man has decided to challenge them. Now the common man will sit in Parliament.
"Party's vision is Swaraj. People should get the 'raj'. That vision will be finalised. 25-30 issues will be discussed which all issues need to be taken first by the party. Committees will be formed. They will make drafts in four-five months. There will discussions through the country," he said.
Activist Yogendra Yadav said that the party will have provisions against domination by one family.
The meeting also saw some disagreement among a section of workers who were not allowed to attend it. A group from Tamil Nadu was seen arguing with a party coordinator on why they were not accommodated. 
A member of the Tamil Nadu group said they were not against the party but their problem was with the way in which delegates from the state were selected. "There is an issue. We have objection to the manner in which people were selected for the meeting," the member said.
A group from West Delhi's Tilak Nagar also voiced their disapproval about the way in which delegates were selected.
"They talk about change and transparency. But where is transparency? When we enquired about the meeting, we were told by West Delhi coordinator that there is no such meeting. How did they select delegates for the meeting. They selected their cronies," said supporters Mohan Aggarwal and Sudhir Singh.




4 years ago

AAP hi koun?
As expected, the immediate response from the fire-fighting team of Congress to the Kejriwal announcement betrayed bewilderment. First, AAP will add just one number to the 1500 odd political parties registered with the Election Commission. Second, ‘aam aadmi’ which is a property that belongs to Congress is being hijacked by Kejriwal. This ‘AAP hi koun?’ approach is amusing. Best way to fight AAP for other political parties would be to implement the principles that will be followed by AAP as announced by Kejriwal. These include, reduced representation to family members in ministries and decision making bodies, maintaining transparency in accounting funds and democratic functioning.

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