The Punjab Medical Council (PMC) has refused to provide information about the status of complaints against negligent doctors in the most blatant and deplorable fashion. As part of our attempt to evaluate how different state medical councils have been handling complaints against their medical colleagues, PBT recently sought information about the status of complaints from 26 medical councils across India. The PMC public information officer (PIO) initially asked PBT secretary, Malay Ganguly, to pay Rs. 270/- (as copying expenses) through a bank draft in a letter dated February 25, 2011 (see below). Shockingly, after the bank draft was sent, the PIO took a complete U-turn and claimed that no information will be provided to a “society” in a letter dated April 19, 2011 (see below). The deliberate and brazen action adopted by the PMC Registrar/PIO not to divulge any information about the complaints against negligent doctors is shocking because:
1) The request for information from the PMC under the RTI Act was made by an individual Indian citizen (Mr. Malay Ganguly) and not by a Society.
2) There is absolutely nothing in the RTI Act and no specific provision has been cited by the PMC Registrar/PIO that a charitable society like the PBT may not obtain information (from a government agency) that has a clear interest for the entire
3) Other state medical councils across India have already provided us similar information under the RTI Act.
4) The Registrar/PIO in his letter dated Feb. 14, 2011 had sought Rs. 270/- (as expenses) to provide the requested information but only after the money was paid as directed, the Registrar/PIO took a complete U-turn on an overtly bogus plea that a society cannot obtain information about complaints against doctors. Did the Registrar/PIO not know about this RTI rule until April 19, 2011?
It is obvious that the PMC refused to provide information about their handling of complaints against negligent doctors in the most capricious manner in order to suppress the truth and to shield their errant medical colleagues. PBT has already submitted a complaint to the Punjab Health Minister to intervene. PBT is also going to file appeal to the Appellate Authority under the RTI Act against this atrocious action by the PMC.