HC stays disclosure of information about psychiatric treatment under RTI
The Delhi High Court has granted a stay to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) against the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing disclosure of the information till the next date of hearing which is scheduled for September.
A 32-year-old married woman of Gurgaon was admitted to IHABS in April 2011 by the hospital’s mobile health unit, after her husband approached the hospital. She was discharged after four days and thereafter she filed an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking “the basis for my admission, doctor’s observation, and clinical examination reports, and doctor’s observation...” Her husband too filed a separate application under the RTI act seeking the reasons of his wife’s discharge without my information. The patient is staying with her mother in Bhopal since her discharge amidst unconfirmed reports of marital discord.
In December 2011, the Central Information Commission ruled that while the hospital was exempt from disclosing treatment records to anyone other than the patient, these precedents are not relevant when the information is being sought by the patient herself. The IHBAS has argued before the HC that every party disclosed information in confidentiality to the psychiatrist and the hospital should not give it away to anyone, including the patient. The disclosure of information contained in psychiatry case records would discourage the patients and their relatives to furnish personal and sensitive information and they would prefer to withhold such information, which would largely affect the treatment.