Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mumbai: JJ Hospital PIO fined for not giving info on illegality on premises

Mid Day: Rupsha Chakravarty: Mumbai: Sunday, June 11, 2017.
Officer penalised four years after filing of RTI query for not providing information on unauthorised photocopy centre in hospital compound; applicant, who is still waiting for a reply, asks if administration is hand in glove with shop owner
An alleged illegality by a PCO (public call office) on the JJ Hospital premises has put the wrong kind of spotlight on the latter. And delay in furnishing information on the same under the Right To Information (RTI) Act has landed the biggest state-run hospital’s public information officer (PIO) in trouble.
State Information Commissioner Ajit Kumar Jain has fined the PIO, Sanjay Gaigale, for not providing information to a former resident doctor, who had filed an RTI application in 2013.
Gaigale was sent a notice on May 15 and fined Rs 25,000 ( which is to be paid in five instalments) under section 20 (1) of the RTI Act, 2005, for violation of section 7 of the Act.
Case diary
Speaking to mid-day, the doctor, who had filed a query when he was a student at the college on the premises, said, "I had been informed that the PCO within the hospital compound was illegally doubling up as a photocopying centre. The shop owner, without paying the electricity bills, was providing the facility. So, I had filed an RTI application to find out how much had been paid by the shop owner towards electricity."
Gaigale responded that his application had been forwarded to the department concerned, but the doctor never heard anything further on his query. He later filed for a first appeal, but when the hospital didn’t respond, he filed for a second appeal. In response, on June 5, 2014, a notice was served, asking the hospital to provide the information within two months with an explanation. Again, the PIO didn’t respond to the directive.
No sign of info
Gaigale was instructed to provide the information to the applicant by May 31. But the doctor still hasn’t been furnished the same.
"It took four years for the information commissioner to fine the PIO. And the information still hasn’t reached me. Either the hospital is involved or it doesn’t care about the RTI Act," said the applicant.
Dean Dr TP Lahane, however, said, "I am not aware of this... JJ hospital always replies to RTI applicants within stipulated time. We respect the Act and don’t delay response. The officer who was in charge in 2013 has left, so I will have to check."