Citizens can now get information from Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre here as the Central Information Commission has declared it to be covered under the Right to Information.
Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said the hospital has received substantial indirect funding from the Government which brings it in the definition of the public authority under the Right to Information Act.
Acharyulu directed the Hospital to set up necessary mechanisms to process applications from the citizens seeking information from the hospital.
“The Commission finds that the said Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre is being indirectly financed for promotion of public services by the Government of NCT Delhi more particularly by DDA and hence the same is squarely covered under the definition of ‘public authority’ as defined under section 2 (h) (ii) of the RTI act, 2005,” Acharyulu said.
The Commissioner said there is vast “differential” between the monthly rental being paid by the Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre and the commercial rent that the premises could fetch in the open market. The Commission is of the opinion that the Centre is being “indirectly financed” by the appropriate government.
Acharyulu said the Hospital is a society which obtained very highly valuable land at Mehrauli Badarpur Road as an incentive and not at the commercial rate.
“The respondent hospital/authority agreed that they were given incentive, and explained the rates of incentive… Such incentive, as agreed to have been received by the Hospital, at which the land was given to the respondent authority, will amount to indirect substantial funding as the rate at which the land was valued, leased and rate of rent fixed is far less compared to market rate prevailing at the date of allotment,” Acharyulu said.
He said whether it is called “incentive” or “subsidy” or “concession”, to that extent of low value, compared to market rate, the respondent authority has been indirectly financed which is “substantial”.
He said the Hospital admits that it is a society which has responsibility to conduct itself as per the bylaws of society and as per Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Under Section 19 of Societies Registration Act, 1860, any person has “right to inspect” and ask for “certified copies”.
This provision is covered by Section 2(f) of Right to Information Act, according to which the Information Commission can direct sharing of information as per the RTI Act, 2005.
“In the present case the element of both substantial indirect finance and control by the appropriate government i.e. Government of NCT through DDA is established,” he said.