Appellant: Histopathalogical exam of his deceased wife could not be completed due to negligence of H&FW Dept - CIC: Not acting on the pretext of absence of specific complaint is dereliction of duty on the part of the regulator; Show cause notice issued
Respondent Department has a responsibility as a regulator to look into the question of not conducting the histopath exam and help the Appellant to seek remedy from the concerned hospital for medical negligence. Not acting upon this issue on the pretext of absence of specific complaint is dereliction of duty on the part of the regulator and as alleged by the Appellant, there appears to be a deliberate attempt to delay and suppress the action to cover up medical negligence. The both PIOs Dr. M L Plushakar and Dr. Binod Singh are directed to explain the points raised by the appellant in his first appeal and show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed against each of them for giving misleading information to cover up and delay. The Respondent Public Authority is directed to consider first appeal as a complaint and to inform the Appellant as to what action is taken against such cover up or if not, why action was not initiated against the hospital for such cover up.
Heard on 10.9.14. Appellant present. Respondent is represented by Shri H.R.Sharma. The present complaint is being converted to appeal at the request of the appellant, as he is seeking information.
2. The Appellant filed an RTI application dt.9.4.13 with the PIO, Health & Family Welfare Department, GNCTD. He stated that his wife Nisha Singh died in Metro Hospital & Cancer Institute, Preeti Vihar, New Delhi on 10.02.2013 and her post mortem report was conducted on 13.2.13 vide H & F W order No…. dt.11.2.12 by a Board comprising of three doctors. The Appellant husband alleged that till date the histopath exams of the deceased could not be completed due to the negligence of H&FW Department. In clinical medicine, the histopathology means the examination of biopsy or surgical specimen by a pathologist after the specimen has been processed and histological sections have been placed onto glass slides. Generally the tissue will be removed from the body or plant and then placed in a fixative which stabilizes the tissues to prevent decay. In this context, he sought information against eight points. The PIO replied on 10.5.13 enclosing the point wise information furnished by Shri Binod Kumar, Superintendent (HII) vide his letter dt.9.5.13. Not satisfied with the reply, the Appellant filed an appeal dt.31.5.13 with the Appellate Authority, stating the following:
1) The powers of the Principal Secretary H&FW is not mentioned. Mr. Binod Kumar has stated that no correspondence has been received from Principal UCMS & GTB Hospital for non accepting the exhibits in UCMS & GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden. This is a false and misleading statement made by him. In this regard attached please refer H&FW Department letter No…. dt.31.1.13 (Sub : regarding request for examination (Histopathlogical) of exhibits vide DD No.3A dt.10.2.12, P.S.Preet Vihar, East District, Delhi. In response to this letter the Principal UCMS & GTB Hospital has addressed the letter to Mr.Binod Kumar only (UCMS & GTB Letter No…. dt.13.2.13). This letter copy was attached with my RTI application also. Again it is attached for your reference and record.
2) Second time the request letter for conduct of histopathological exams was sent to SDN Hospital was sent by H&FW Department once the UCMS & GTB Hospital had not accept the histopath samples for examinations. So the statement of Mr. Binod Kumar is false and misleading that no correspondence received from UCMS & GTB Hospital for non acceptance of the histopath samples exam. Then how he sent the letter from H&FW department second time to SDN Hospital. Moreover in my RTI application dt.25.3.13 also the same thing was mentioned. Mr. Binod Kumar also not has replied that what actions are taken by H&FW department for ensuring the histopath exams of the histopath samples after refusal by SDN Hospital & UCMS & GTB Hospital. The current status of the histopath exams is still pending from H&FW Department
3) Mr. Binod Kumar has not replied that what action is taken by H&FW Department after nonaccepting of the histopath samples by the Principal UCMS & GTB Hospital, once the SDN Hospital has already mentioned in his letter/circular that it is not having sufficient infrastructure and pathologist for such technical exams. Mr.Binod Kumar knowingly without bringing the matter to higher official of the H&FW Department again second time sent the request letter to SDN Hospital and SDN Hospital again quoted the same problem of insufficient infrastructure and nonavailability of the pathologist for such technical exams.
4) As SDN Hospital has mentioned in its letter and circular that he is not having sufficient infrastructure since June 2008 then why H&FW department knowingly sending the request letter to SDN Hospital for such exams. In reply to my RTI application to MAMC the PIO has stated that for histopathological examination, a circular has been issued by the Department of H&FW, GNCT No….. dt.15.5.2007. Then in lack of insufficient infrastructure and nonavailability of qualified pathologist for such technical examinations since June 2008 why the H&FW department has authorized SDN Hospital for such examinations?
5) It is not replied that what action is taken by H&FW Department in coordination with MCD East for providing infrastructure and qualified pathologist in SDN Hospital.
6) & 7) name of the authorized senior officer is not provided who is looking after these type of administrative problems in H&FW Department.
8) It is also not mentioned that what action is taken by H&FW Department for insubordination by the Principal UCMS & GTB Hospital.
The Appellate Authority disposed of the appeal vide order dt.8.7.13. The relevant portion of the order is reproduced below: ‘The PIO is directed to supply the available information to the appellant after obtaining from OSII and OS (RTI) as admissible under RTIA, 2005 within a period of two weeks. The supply of relevant information should be as direct as possible against the query of the applicant’.
The PIO complied with the order of the Appellate Authority vide letter dt.29.7.13. Being aggrieved with the reply, the Appellant filed a second appeal dt.27.9.13 before CIC. He stated in second appeal that that the reply received against his first appeal by H&FW letter No… dt.26.7.13 by OS(RTI) and Mr.Binod Singh, OS(H&H) is not satisfactory and incomplete. The both OS have tried to do eyewash and all answers/reply made by them are not as per information asked but the department have tried to confuse and has given wrong and unwanted information. As the officers upto the level of Principal Secretary are involved in delaying the process of conduct of histopath exams of my late wife so the H&FW Department is trying to escape from their responsibilities.
3. During the hearing, the Appellant submitted that till date no histopath exams has been conducted and the H&FW department is referring the matter to Swami Dayanand Hospital where they do not have the facility since 2008. He added that when he visited the office of H&FW Department, he was given the letter belonging to the year 2000 stating that the hospital has the facility. It was his allegation that Metro Hospital in order to cover up their negligence is delaying the histopath exam in connivance with H&FW Department. The Respondent on his part, submitted that in the absence of a specific complaint, no action could be taken.
4. The Commission after hearing the submissions holds that Respondent Department has a responsibility as a regulator to look into the question of not conducting the histopath exam and help the Appellant to seek remedy from the concerned hospital for medical negligence. Not acting upon this issue on the pretext of absence of specific complaint is dereliction of duty on the part of the regulator and as alleged by the Appellant, there appears to be a deliberate attempt to delay and suppress the action to cover up medical negligence. The both PIOs Dr. M L Pushakar and Dr. Binod Singh are directed to explain the points raised by the appellant in his first appeal and show cause why maximum penalty cannot be imposed against each of them for giving misleading information to cover up and delay. The Respondent Public Authority is directed to consider first appeal (substantial part of which is extracted in this order) as a complaint and to inform the Appellant as to what action is taken against such cover up or why action was not initiated against the hospital for such cover up. The information shall be supplied within three weeks of receipt of this order. Explanation in response to show cause should reach within three weeks from the date of receipt of this order.
5. The appeal is disposed with the above direction.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Dinesh Kumar Singh v. Health & Family Welfare Department, GNCTD in Case No.CIC/DS/C/2013/000535SA