Artemis Hospital Runs without Valid Licence, Claims Isn’t Public Authority; Information Commissioner Slams Director General of Health Services, Orders It To Provide Info
As volleys went to and fro between Delhi’s Artemis Hospital, the RTI (right to information) applicant and the central public information officer (CPIO) of the director general of health services (DGHS) in Delhi, regarding the issue of Artemis Hospital as a public authority and the reluctance of the CPIO to provide information on the validity of its licence, the central information commissioner (CIC) last week prevailed on the CPIO to provide the necessary information and slammed two of them with a show-cause notice.
 
Well-known RTI activist Subhash Agrawal represented his family member Sanjeev Kumar whose wife had been admitted to the hospital for two days, resulting in an exorbitant medical bill. Mr Kumar had sought information on the copy of the valid licence issued by the DGHS or any other public authority and whether it held that licence when his wife was admitted on 7th and 8 April 2023. This information was important against the background of a huge bill which may have occurred as there is no public controlling authority in the absence of a mandatory licence to run it.
 
At the CIC second appeal hearing on 13 June 2024, activist Mr Agrawal pointed out that the hospital lacked a valid licence during the hospitalisation of his family member’s wife on 7th and 8 April 2023. He reiterated that no hospital can be granted a licence retroactively (which the CPIO defended) and that any such licence issued later with a backdated effect is an attempt to shield the hospital from accountability for its malpractices.
 
Mr Agrawal also rued that, despite multiple reminders for disseminating the required information, the CPIO did not respond. Hence, he requested CIC Vinod Kumar Tiwari to direct the CPIO to provide accurate information free of charge, in accordance with Section 7(6) of the RTI Act. Mr Agrawal also stated that he should be penalised and sought compensation for the exorbitant medical bills his family member had to pay due to the CPIO’s inordinate inaction.
 
CIC Tiwari pointed out that the applicant’s main concern was the lack of correct information from the CPIO and the alleged arbitrary practices by Artemis Hospital in raising unjustified bills and the hospital’s routine practice of backdating licence renewals.
 
Although the CPIO argued that the hospital's registration was deemed valid during the application process, CIC Tiwari found contradictions between the CPIO's initial replies and their statements during the hearing.
 
CIC Tiwari, in his order, issued a show-cause notice to the former PIO, Dr Nitin Kumar, and the current PIO, Sandeep Kumar Agarwal, asking why punitive action under Section 20(1) should not be taken and why compensation should not be awarded to the RTI applicant. Both PIOs have been ordered to submit their written statements within four weeks of receiving the order.
 
In addition, CPIO Agarwal has been directed to provide a revised, point-wise reply with updated information, free of charge, within four weeks. CIC Tiwari has also asked the RTI applicant to submit detailed documentation of his compensation claim within four weeks.
 
The RTI application:
1. Regulatory public-authority for Artemis Hospital (A-1, New Friends Colony, New Delhi- 110025) mentioning date of first issue of licence to the said Artemis Hospital by the said regulatory authority .

2. Had the said Artemis Hospital valid licence issued by DGHS and/or any regulatory public-authority on the dates of hospitalization (07.04.2023 and 08.04.2023) of my wife Smt. Shikha Aggarwal.

3. If yes to (2), provide a copy of the licence with validity of 07.04.2023 to 08.04.2023 from the concerned regulatory authority to the said Artemis Hospital.

4. If no to (2), complete and detailed information together with all related documents/correspondence/file-notings etc. on action taken against the said Artemis Hospital for continuing hospital and medical treatments on 07.04.2023 and 08.04.2023 without having a valid licence.

5. Please provide me complete and detailed information together with all related documents/correspondence/file-notings etc. on action taken on my complaint dated 06.06.2023 lodged at CPGRAMS portal (copy enclosed) either by DGHS and/or by any authority where the said complaint might have been forwarded.

6. Relationship of Claim Therapist with the said Artemis Hospital for cashless hospital- treatment.

7. Year-wise number of cases settled by Claim Therapist in respect of the said Artemis Hospital ever since the said Artemis Hospital started its hospital-activities.

8. Copies of complete correspondence by the regulatory authority with the said Artemis Hospital in respect of my enclosed complaint.

9. Names of doctors for which hospital-authorities charged fees in respect of treatment of my wife Smt. Shikha Aggarwal clearly mentioning part of charged fees (a) paid to concerned doctors (b) retained by hospital-authorities.

10. Complete information on preventive steps taken by the concerned regulatory authority to ensure that the said Artemis Hospital may not cheat patients/attendants in the manner I was cheated in respect of treatment of my wife Smt. Shikha Aggarwal.

11. Any other related information.

12. File-notings on movement of this RTI application.
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife. She is also the convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting, which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain Award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)
Comments
parimalshah1
1 month ago
Mr. Subhash Agrawal &/Or Mr. Sanjeev Kumar should file a case in a court with the help of a good lawyer.
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