Some men, especially netas, are more equal than others. So while lesser mortals have to wait for days, and sometimes endlessly, for government departments to respond to Right to Information (RTI) pleas, MLA Ram Kadam — still making news for allegedly assaulting a police officer — received a reply to his application in less than 24 hours.
Supporters of the legislator filed a query with St George Hospital, asking for the medical records stating the injuries of the sub-inspector, and if he was fit for discharge.
Sources at the institute confirmed that the response to this RTI plea was delivered the same day. Dr TP Lahane, dean JJ Group of Hospitals, said, “The RTI query had sought details regarding the medical condition of the patient and we provided an injury certificate in reply. We clearly stated that according to the tests conducted at the hospital, the victim was found to be fit for discharge, and hence, we allowed him to leave.”
When contacted, one of the personal assistants of the MLA said, “We had filed an RTI on Thursday and also received the reply within a few hours. I cannot divulge any details about the issue at this point of time.”
An FIR was registered at Marine Drive police station against MLAs Kshitij Thakur and Ram Kadam, and 14 others for allegedly thrashing sub-inspector Sachin Suryavanshi (31) from Worli traffic police, at Vidhan Bhavan.
Suryavanshi was rushed to state-run JJ Hospital and later admitted to St George Hospital. Doctors had claimed that his condition was stable when he was admitted, but the victim had sustained blunt injuries in the assault. Dr TP Lahane said, “After the CT scan and other reports stated that there was nothing wrong with the victim and that he was fit for discharge, we discharged him on Wednesday. However, he later complained of chest pain and got himself admitted to Bombay Hospital.”
Dr Sagar Sakle, officer on special duty and spokesperson for Bombay Hospital, said, “The patient was admitted to our ICU on Wednesday night with complaints of chest pain. We have kept him under observation and his condition is currently stable. He has suffered blunt injuries to his chest and other parts of the body.”
RTI activist Milind Mulay said, “The Right To Information Act has a provision under which if it is a matter of life and liberty then the Public Information Officer (PIO) has to issue a reply to the query within 48 hours. It is good to know that the PIO was so proactive in this case, but it would be much better if they were prompt in every case. It is true that even if one is demanding some genuine information, the reply is often not supplied for months. A PIO should not be concerned about who the applicant is while responding to a query.”
Former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, “A PIO should not reveal the medical records of a patient, unless it is for a larger public interest. It is completely illegal on part of the hospital to have given the information in this case. It is obviously under political pressure that these records were provided to the RTI applicants. No public interest is served in this case as per my opinion.”
Commenting on the swift reply to the RTI query, he added, “We cannot blame them for giving a swift reply, but it is illegal to provide the details unless the patient concurs.”