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‘30% RTI applications in health dept frivolous’

The applicants sought information such as qualification of doctors, copies of education certificates

gurgaon Updated: Jun 23, 2013 00:29 IST
Himabindu Reddy
Himabindu Reddy
Hindustan Times

The district health department received 310 RTI applications during April 2012-March 2013 and nearly 30% of them had frivolous questions about doctors.

According to officials, there has been a heavy misuse of the Right to Information Act 2005 with a host of applications enquiring about personal details of the authorities and doctors in the health department.

“Nearly 30% of these RTI applications were rejected as the applicants had sought information such as qualification of doctors and asked for copies of their education certificates. If we give the applicants such personal documents of the officials, it can be misused,” said Dr Renu Saroha, deputy civil surgeon at Gurgaon Civil Hospital.

The RTI Act prohibits the request of producing personal information of any official, except for his contact details.

“The only way to control such frivolous applications is to increase the fee for every application, limit the number of applications filed by a person and ensure that each application does not exceed a 500-word limit. It is because of such applications that officials tend to stop taking genuine RTI queries seriously, thereby affecting bonafide activists,”said Aseem Takyar, a city-based RTI activist.

Takyar had filed about 70 RTI applications in the health department seeking its response on various subjects such as funds allotted for dengue, malaria operations, staff crunch in the Civil Hospital and method adopted to dispose toxic waste.

According to the department, nearly 50% of the applications filed in the last one year were directed to the food and drug department.

“The reason is that this department is closely associated with the consumers. The queries were about the number of raids conducted by the department in a stipulated period of time and their results,”said Saroha, who is in-charge of RTI applications filed with the health department.

The remaining 20% applications sought the information related to the private health facilities, for which the department is not authorised to divulge any information.

First Published: Jun 23, 2013 00:25 IST