3 Nov :In violation of the RTI Act, premier medical institute AIIMS has asked an applicant to seek permission from the institute’s director before sharing with media the information given to him under a query.
In response to the information sought by NGO Uday foundation, whose RTI query had led to the disclosure of the infant deaths during clinical trial at AIIMS, the institute said the information is being provided for "personal consumption" as the media might misrepresent facts.
The NGO had sought information from the Newborn Nursery at AIIMS regarding the number of babies admitted since January 2008, patient-nurse ratio, mortality rates, top five infections and top reasons of death.
"We have provided this information for your personal consumption. You are advised to take written permission from the director AIIMS before sharing the information with the media," wrote A K Deorari of the department of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to Rahul Verma of the Uday Foundation in a covering letter to the RTI response.
Verma, who is yet to approach the AIIMS director, has threatened to question the World Health Organisation (WHO), which funds the medical institute, in protest against the gag.
"Once we address an RTI query to the Public Information Officer (PIO), the information is meant to become public and placing a gag like this one violates the entire purpose of the RTI Act," said Verma.
"We plan to question WHO and the Health Minister in this regard," Verma said.
Meanwhile a leading RTI activist termed the stand taken by AIIMS as "illegal", suggesting that the applicant should share the information without any inhibition.