COIMBATORE: In an incident revealing the lengths the Public Information Officials (PIO) go to avoid answering applications filed under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) recently rejected a petition citing the query exceeded the ‘60-word limit’.
Answering a query into the functioning of the CMCH, filed by Vijesh V V, a city resident, under the RTI Act on May 5, the PIO had said, “The questions asked by the petitioner have exceeded 60 words. Information could be provided under the RTI Act, only if the questions do not exceed 60 words.”
The petitioner approached the First Appellate Authority in the CMCH citing that no section under the RTI Act prescribed such a ‘word limit’. He got an acknowledgment for the same on May 12. Finally, he received a reply from the First Appellate Authority on June 21.
Though answers for all the 13 questions were given, the officials had omitted certain details. The RTI reply stated that 14,235 patients had been treated under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS) as on June 9 from January 11, 2012. However, the money incurred by the hospital under the scheme was not mentioned in the reply, despite the petitioner asking for it. Similarly, on a question seeking status of cornea harvesting and keratoscopy (corneal transplants) being done, the reply said that no harvesting had been done at the hospital.
In September 2013, the CMCH had honoured the relatives of two individuals whose eyes had been donated to the eye bank. The senior doctors at the Department of Ophthalmology had then claimed that seven keratoscopy had been successfully performed at the hospital.