Justice Debansu Basak of Calcutta High Court has directed West Bengal Information Commission (WBIC) to dispose off PBT’s RTI application (Second Appeal seeking medical records of then transport minister, Madan Mitra) as soon as possible and within a period of 4 weeks (see news below). PBT had moved a writ petition after WBIC informed that they are over-burdened and cannot hear PBT’s Second Appeal for 1-2 years although RTI Act, 2005 has clearly stipulated that application for information must be disposed within a maximum period of 30 days.
Mr. Madan Mitra, a close ally of Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, was arrested by CBI in 2014 in the well-known Saradha Chit Fund scam but instead of staying in jail, Mitra was shifted to SSKM Hospital, premier government hospital in Kolkata, on the alleged ground that Mitra was too sick to stay in jail. Regular media reports showed that Mitra was in no serious medical condition as he was kept in a comfortable air-condition private cabin with regular visits by his friends and family. It appeared that Mitra avoided staying in jail. perhaps with sinister support from doctors at SSKM hospital by virtue of his political influence. After PBT sought Mitra’s medical records (under RTI Act) to be examined by independent outside medical experts, SSKM authority refused to provide any information against which PBT eventually filed the Second Appeal with WBIC as per the provisions in the RTI Act, 2005. After WBIC also remained silent and claimed that they cannot hear the Second Appeal for 1-2 years, PBT was compelled to move Calcutta High Court that has now directed WBIC to dispose off our appeal within 4 weeks time.