Central Information Commission
Dated June 9, 2009
Name of the Applicant:
Mr.Afroz Alam Sahil
Name of the Public Authority :
1. The Applicant filed an RTI application dt.25.9.08 with the CPIO, AIIMS. He requested for information against 5 points regarding the people who died in the encounter that took place on 19 September, 2008 at Batla House, Jamia Nagar including: 1)when the bodies of the victims of the encounter were brought to the hospital; 2)the names of doctors who conducted the postmortems along with their designations ;3)who prepared the postmortem report; 4)certified copies of individual postmortem reports and 5) whether the bodies were handed over to the relatives or to the police after the postmortem. The CPIO replied on 13.10.08 denying the information u/s 8(1) (b) and 8(1)(h). Not satisfied with the reply, the Applicant filed an appeal dt.15.10.08 with the Appellate Authority reiterating his request for the information. The Appellate authority, after taking the advice of the CPIO, replied on 4.3.09 upholding the decision of the CPIO. Aggrieved with the reply, the Applicant filed a second appeal dt.28.5.09 before the CIC.
2. The Bench of Mrs. Annapurna Dixit, Information Commissioner, scheduled the hearing for June 9, 2009.
3. Mr. R. Simon, ADMNO cum CPIO, Dr. Subodh Kumar, Asstt. Professor, Dr. Sanjeev Lalwani, Asstt. Prof., Dr. Vinay Gulati, Asstt. Prof. and Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Sr. Duty Officer represented the Public Authority.
4. The Applicant was not present during the hearing.
5. On review of the RTI request by the Commission it was agreed by the Respondents that information sought against points 1 and 5 would be
provided since the information does not fall under exemptions 8(1)(b) and (h) which were the reasons given by the CPIO to withhold the information; since they are neither confidential nor will disclosure of information impede the process of investigation. The Commission denies disclosure against points 2 and 3 under section 8(1)(g) and 8(1)(b) of the RTI Act since disclosure of information about Doctors who have conducted the postmortem may endanger the life and physical safety of these individuals besides exposing them to undue pressure and acting as a major impediment in the process of investigation.
6. With regard to Point 4, the Respondent submitted that in a similar case wherein the RTI request was filed before the Delhi Police by an Applicant, the Applicant sought an interim order dated 31.3.09 suspending the operation of the decision CIC/WB/A/2009/0023 dated 9.3.09 by the Central Information Commission, whereby the information sought by the Applicant vis-à-vis postmortem report and the FIR in connection with the encounter in Jamia Nagar were directed to be granted, subject to favourable conditions under Section 10(i). The Respondent, also contended during the hearing that the CIC, in its decision mentioned above, had itself admitted that ‘part of the information held in the mentioned documents merits exemption u/s 8(1)(h) and (g)’ and that the Delhi High Court had suspended operation of the CIC order on the ground that the Commission had ordered disclosure without being alive to the investigative process.
7. The Commission heard the submissions put forward by the Respondents for denying disclosure of postmortem reports and noted that apart from their argument that the earlier CIC decision No. CIC/WB/A/2009/0023 dated 9.3.09 on disclosure of postmortem reports has been stopped from operation, were not able to explain how the disclosure of information at this stage would impede the process of investigation.
7. The Commission also noted the argument put forth by the Appellant in the earlier case, as given in the CIC Order, quoted hereinunder :
"the FIR in this particular case has already been exposed to much publicity and the post mortem reports are now irrevocable. Their
disclosure in no way could impede the process of investigation or prosecution"
and in the light of the abovementioned CIC Order, directs the CPIO to provide the postmortem reports after applying Section 10(1) of the RTI Act to severe those parts of the reports which are exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1), along with information against points 1 and 5, by 10 June, 2009.
8. The Commission accordingly disposes of the appeal.
Authenticated true copy:
1. Mr.Afroz alam Sahil
F-56/23, First Floor
Sir Syed Road
New Delhi 110 025
2. The PIO
Jai Prakash Narayan
Apex Trauma Centre
3. The Appellate Authority
Jai Prakash Narayan
Apex Trauma Centre
4. Officer incharge, NIC
5. Press E Group, CIC