Information about the alleged medical lapses resulting in the death of former CJI JS Verma - CIC: Explain whether any concessions were given to Medanta Medicity; Inform the circle rate of sector 38 at the time of allotment of land - CIC: PIO to explain
2. Appellant through his RTI application dated 18.09.2013 had sought for information in relation to news item “Probe medical lapse that killed former CJI” Viz,
1) Is it true that former CJI Justice MN Venkatachaliah is amongst 34 eminent citizens having demanded through his letter addressed to P.M to probe into the medical lapse which allegedly killed the former CJI Justice JS Verma.
2) Is it true that Smt Pushpa Verma, Wife of former CJI has also written a letter dated 06.07.2013 to PMO demanding a probe into the medical lapse which allegedly killed the former CJI.
3) Copies of the letter addressed to P.M as referred to in Point i & ii alongwith the related correspondence on action taken on the letter by PMO, and by concerned ones whereby these letter might have been forwarded.
4) Complete information together with related correspondence/file notings/documents on action taken on each aspect of submissions dated 17.09.2013 ‘Demand for probe into medical lapses in death of former CJI JS Verma’ also emailed at PMO, by PMO and/or by public authorities where such submission have been forwaded, etc.
5) Name of hospital where former Chief Justice of India Mr. Justice JS Verma breathed his last mentioning also amount of hospital bill and person/body having paid the said medical bill of the concerned hospital.
6) If yes, please provide details.
7) Has the hospital referred in query (5) above been provided any other facility or control either from Union government or from the concerned State Government?
8) If yes, please provide details.
9) Has the hospital referred in query (5) above been altered land from Government at some subsidized /institutional either from Union Government or from the concerned State Government?
10) Complete information on postretirement benefits/facilities/pensions/perks/privileges etc. Including about medical facilities available to a retired Chief Justice of India and his/per family members especially including spouse.
11) Any other related information.
12) File notings on movement of RTI petition. ”
3. RTI application of the appellant was tranferred vide letter dated 20092013, to the PIOs of other Departments. PIO, Directorate of Health Service to whom, the Petition of the appellant was transferred, replied on 10.12.2013 giving information in respect of Points 2 & 3, and for other points the PIO stated that the information was not available with the Directorate.
4. Being dissatisfied with the information provided, the appellant preferred First Appeal on 14122013.
The FAA reply is not available on the file. Claiming non-furnishing of information sought, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
5. The appellant referred to the demand made by 34 eminent citizens to the Prime Minister for probing medical lapses that allegedly resulted in the death of former Chief Justice of India JS Verma. Earlier wife of the former CJI had also written a similar letter to the Prime Minister. Such letters from eminent citizens from all walks of life on death of a devoted and honest jurist who spent post retirement life in a rented house is indeed a matter of serious concern. While those having occupied high posts in legislative system secure all types of government provided facilities including the government bungalows, secretarial assistance and healthcare, there are no such post retirement facilities for even retired Chief Justice of the nation.
6. Commission by its order dated 17.12.2014 has passed the following direction : “The Commisison, therefore, directs the PIOs of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to supply information for points Nos. 4 to 9 of the RTI application and Delhi Medical Council, for point No.3, along with the related documents, to the appellant, free of costs, within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of.
“ 7. Commission by its Order dated 21.8.2015 had passed the following direction : “The Commission directs respondent authority to collect the information from the concerned department of State of Haryana and HUDA, Gurgaon and provide the same to the appellant within 25 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission directs the respondent authority to use quickest means of communication like, telephone, SMS, Cell Phone, EMS etc. to collect the information. The Commission also directs the concerned authorities to note that inspite of specific directions to provide the information and to attend the hearing for reporting the compliance, the representatives from Dept of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Haryana and HUDA, Gurgaon were not present in the hearing. The Commission directs the respondent authorities to provide the information as directed earlier, if not the Commission will be compelled to initiate penalty proceedings. The case is posted for compliance on 30.09.2015 at 2.30 p.m.”
6. The Commission vide order dated 21.10.2015 ordered as under;
“8. Having heard the submission and perused the record, the Commission directs CPIO of HUDA [the respondent authority] to produce the file notings of allotment of land, application of Medanta, and the prevailing market rate and circle rate of land in that area, at the time of allotment to Medanta Hospital before the commission on 23.11.2015 at 2.30 P.M. 9. The Commission also directs CPIO/Director General Health Services, Government of Haryana to show cause why maximum penalty should not imposed against him for not complying with the direction of the Commission, the explanation should reach the commission within 3 weeks of receipt of this Order. He is also directed to provide complete details about facilities and concessions given by them to Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon. 10. The Case is posted on 23.11.2015 at 2.30 P.M for compliance”.
7. The Commission vide order dated 18.12.2015 ordered as under
“7. The Commission is supposed to hear the explanation from CPIO of Director General of Health Services, Government of Haryana and CPIO Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). There was no report whether they have complied with the direction of CIC or they have provided complete details about facilities and concessions given to Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon. HUDA is also expected to provide file notings and correspondence including application for allotment of land to Medanta Hospital. Even CPIO, Director General, Health Services, Government of Haryana has not given any explanation in response to show cause notice issued by the Commission.
8. The Commission gives another opportunity to the CPIO, Director General, Health Services, Government of Haryana to comply with the order of CIC, within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission also directs CPIO, HUDA to show cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed against him for not complying with order of Commission dated 21.10.2015, within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order.
9. The case is posted for compliance on 1912016 at 2.30 PM”.
8. The Commission vide order dated 25.1.2016 ordered as under :
8. Mr. Shiv Rattan Tanwar, A.O., EOII, HUDA, Sec34, Gurgaon furnished copy of document/information regarding allocation of land to Medanta Medcity Hospital, copy of application of Medanta Medcity, letter of allotment and circle rate to the appellant today. The RTI application is complied with by the HUDA.
9. No officer from the Directorate of Health Services is present to give response to show cause notice of CIC dated 18.12.2015. The Commission gives yet another opportunity to the PIO, Directorate of Health Services to submit reply to the show cause notice within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order. In the absence of PIO the Commission would be compelled to proceed for penalty proceeding.
10. In point No. 5 appellant wanted to know the name of hospital from where Chief Justice of India took his last breath. On point No. 7 appellant wanted to know whether the hospital in question receives any facility or whether the government exercises control over it. Appellant stated that AO of HUDA gave circle rate of sector 30, 31, 32 and 39 & 40 but not of sector 38 in which Medanta Medicity is located.
11. In response to point No. 5 & 6 PIO, Directorate General, Health Services stated that he did not receive medical bill, and as regard point No. 7 & 8 he stated that there is no such control exercised by the government over private hospital. From the response given on 10.11.2015 it can be understood that Director General, Health Services, Haryana is cognizant of the fact that Medanta Medcity Hospital is a private hospital and hence it is also possible that it will be helpful to know whether concession is granted, if any to that hospital. Such Information has to be furnished and the reply “No Control of the Private Hospital” is incomplete and misleading information and is in contrary to the provisions of the Act which was enacted to bring about transparency in the working of the Government. The CPIO should act reasonably and diligently.
12. In view of the above, the Commission directs PIO, Director General, Health Services, Govt. of Haryana and Union Government to explain whether any concession/subsidy/or any other facility was given to this private hospital, and directs HUDA to inform the circle rate of sector 38, at the time of allotment of the land to Medanta Medicity in that circle; within 21 days from the date of receipt of this order.
13. The case is posted on 24th February, 2016 at 2:30 pm for compliance”.
9. None represents respondent authority. The Commission gives another chance to HUDA to submit information regarding circle rate of Sector 38, for allotment of land to Medanta Medicity. The Commission also directs PIO, Director General, Health Services, Govt of Haryana and Union Government to submit their explanation to the Commission within 20 days from the date of receipt of this order. The Commission orders accordingly.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Directorate of Health Services in File No. CIC/SA/A/2014/000444