Award of punishment for medical negligence by MCI
The appellant claimed that the Ethics Committee had held four doctors of Max Hospital, Pitampura guilty of medical negligence/ misconduct and it was stated that quantum of punishment will be decided at the next ethics committee meeting. In this regard the appellant filed an application under Right to Information (RTI) with the Medical Council of India seeking information like, what punishment was ordered against each of the four doctors, when was the punishment ordered, if punishment has not been yet ordered, the reason thereof, the present status in this case and copy of all correspondence /emails MCI had between Max Hospital & its doctors, Ethics Committee & its members, Board of Governors of MCI and any other organization/individual along with the file noting. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that matter was under consideration. During the hearing, the respondent stated that the Ethics Committee meets every month and over 12 or 13 meetings have been held and the matter of punishment is claimed to have been still under consideration. The appellant pointed out that this was a case of medical negligence which resulted in his daughter’s death in May 2009 and he has been pursuing the matter in the MCI since last two years.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the Ethics Committee of MCI has reportedly found 04 doctors guilty but is now delaying awarding any punishment since past 14 months. The Commission held that complete collapse of mechanisms to punish people who have been found guilty is extremely damaging for society and denies victims a sense of justice being done. The Commission awarded a compensation of Rs. 3000/- to the complainant as per the provisions of section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act for the loss and detriment suffered by him in pursing the appeal and getting the information late. The Commission further noted that the RTI Act envisions that all citizens shall receive information primarily by suo motto disclosures by various public authorities as prescribed by section (4) of the act and citizens would be required to specifically ask for information under section (6) only in a few cases. It is necessary that information about names of doctors who are found guilty by the Ethics Committee of Medical Negligence/Misconduct were displayed on the website of the Medical Council of India and when the punishment, is decided the quantum of punishment should also be displayed. The PIO was directed to ensure that the names of doctors who have been found guilty by the Ethics Committee since January 2011 are displayed on the website of the MCI and the quantum of punishment is also displayed whenever it is decided. The Commission held that the PIO has given no explanation for denying information with respect to the correspondence/emails which can be refused only under the section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The PIO was directed to provide the information to the appellant and to ensure that the information displayed on the website of the Council is updated every month. These directions were given by the Commission under its powers under section 19(8) (a)(iii) and in conformance with the requirements of Section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; (xvii) of the RTI Act.
Information should be provided primarily by suo motto disclosures by the different public authorities as prescribed by section (4) of the RTI Act so that the need of the citizens to file an application for seeking information under section (6) is reduced to the minimum.
Citation: Mr. S. P. Mancharida v. Medical Council of India in Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000876/18840
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/333
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission