Should psychiatry case records be disclosed under RTI?
A patient of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), Delhi had filed an application with the institute under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get his medical case records. The institute refused to provide the complete information stating that the information about patients received from other informants cannot be revealed on the ground of fiduciary relationship.
However, dissatisfied with the reply, the applicant approached the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) which stated in its order that while the hospital was exempt from disclosing treatment records to anyone else other than the patient, these precedents are not relevant when information is being sought by the patients themselves. Hence, the CIC issued directions to provide the records to the patient.
The IHBAS, earlier known as Shahdara Mental Hospital, filed a petition with the Delhi High Court against the CIC order stating that disclosure of information contained in psychiatry case records would discourage friends and relatives of the patients to furnish sensitive information, which would affect the treatment. The IHBAS has suggested that a patient can have access to partial information wherein the records of sensitive information provided by other informants should be withheld by the institute.
As of now, the Delhi High Court has put a stay on the CIC order for disclosing information.