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medical records not under rti : court


The Delhi High Court Tuesday ruled that income tax returns and medical records do not fall under the purview of Right To Information (RTI) Act "unless public interest is attached" holding in its landmark judgment that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) came under the ambit of the transparency law.

Quoting an American writer that "one man's freedom of information is another man's invasion of privacy", a full bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justices S. Muralidhar and Vikramjit Sen said: "Personal information including tax returns, medical records etc. cannot be disclosed in view of Section 8(1)(j) of the act."

"If, however, the applicant can show sufficient public interest in disclosure, the bar (preventing disclosure) is lifted and after duly notifying the third party (the individual concerned with the information or whose records are sought) and after considering his views, the authority can disclose it," they said.

Highlighting how the right to information often clashes with the right to privacy, the court noted that the government stores a lot of information about individuals, supplied by the individuals themselves in applications made for obtaining various licences, permissions including passports, or through disclosures such as income tax returns or for census data.

"When an applicant seeks access to government records containing personal information concerning identifiable individuals, it is obvious that these two rights are capable of generating conflict," the court said, adding that "in some cases, this will involve disclosure of information pertaining to public officials. In others, it will involve disclosure of information concerning ordinary citizens. In each instance, the subject of the information can plausibly raise a privacy protection concern."

However, the court ruled that notes made by the judges do not come under the RTI act, the court said the notes taken by judges while hearing a case cannot be treated as final views expressed by them on the case. "They are meant only for the use of the judges and cannot be held to be a part of a record 'held' by the public authority. However, if the judge turns in notes along with the rest of his files to be maintained as a part of the record, the same may be disclosed."

Maintaining that the right to information may not always have a linkage with the freedom of speech, the court said: "If a citizen gets information, certainly his capacity to speak will be enhanced."

"But many a time, he needs information which may have nothing to do with his desire to speak. He may wish to know how an administrative authority has used its discretionary powers. He may need information as to whom the petrol pumps have been allotted. The right to information is required to make the exercise of discretionary powers by the executive transparent and, therefore, accountable because such transparency will act as a deterrent against unequal treatment," the court said.

Adv P & H High Court Chandigarh

This is no doubt a landmark judgment but is also a heartbreaking news. when entire administration is coming openly in support of freedom of commonman how he should be deprived to from such vital infromation connected with his life and even death.


FOUNDER-PRESIDENT DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS FORUM (DRF) - The Foundation for Social Justice and Constitutional awareness for trial of public service. (Ph.9322246333) drf.india@gmail.com

1. False medical bill submitted by public servants and public representatives to have reimbursement from public money for which medical record is required to verify and no doubt it has public interest.

2. Whether tax recovery is going on in right manner or otherwise, every citizen has right to know that since it is a clear public interest and needs attention by the people.

Why the doubts & confusion are being created? 

Delhi High Court has already clarified that the Chief Justice a& others are also public servants and they have to submit periodical statement of immovable property which they owned and it falls under section 2 (f) of RTI Act 2005 which is described as a general information and any citizen can have the same.  It is absolutely a public interest to know that how & from where the property a public servant owned?

It is who opposed to give the information of their property???????????????.............     

kgp/west bengal

i need to know that i need medical record from Tin plate Hospital Jamesdpur.I have send evrell mails and thout RTI form but i got no response.So pl guide me how could i fet my informations?its very serious matter for me to know-thanks

FOUNDER-PRESIDENT DR. BABASAHEB AMBEDKAR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS FORUM (DRF) - The Foundation for Social Justice and Constitutional awareness for trial of public service. (Ph.9322246333) drf.india@gmail.com

Respected Ms. Bharti Singh,

Madam, please let me know; (i) whose medical record you are seeking? (ii) Whether Tin Plate Hospital a Govt. hospital or somehow aided by the Govt. or a private one? (iii) Not necessary, but if you please let me know a little bit about your need of it?

Don't worry even if it is not a Govt. Hosp. or its not your own medical records...




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