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Thread: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

  1. #1

    who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    Hello. I need explanation of Third party regarding Section 11 of RTI cases.

    I am CAPIO in Govt. Hospital and one applicant asked for health status of technician working in operation theater.

    His HOD provided info that he is having some disease

    My question is that should i send the relevant request to concerned technician (might be a matter of his privacy)

    moreover Can he object to this info as third party u/s 11

    How a party become third party in RTI cases. what are the rules in practice?

    If anybody have relevant explanation , case law or personal experience is requested to update me on this issue.


  2. Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    Iam unable to understand how the health of an employee comes under the perview of RTI, more over it is an invasion of privasy

  3. #3
    C J Karira
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    Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    Health of a individual is definitely "private" and information can be denied under Sec 8(1)(j).

    Please have a look at the following decisions:

    However, you have to also see whether in this matter disclosure for larger "public interest" outweighs the "privacy" issue. There is one instance in Maharashtra when the SIC allowed disclosure of Medical Records of a Minister:

  4. Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    The word "third party" is somewhat confusing.

    If a person requests records he is the "first party." We will call him "requestor" for sake of clarification. So the requestor requests records from a PA. Therefore the PA is the "second party." Now if the requestor is asking for records pertaining to someone other then the requestor, that party will be called the "Third Party".

    RTI has provisions to protect the privacy of the third party. However RTI allows release of private information about the third party if public good from such release overcomes the privacy interests.

    RTI imposes this duty of balancing the public good and privacy interest, on PIO. Health status of a technician may be of public importance, if the technician has a communicable disease and he/she is working in Operating Room. Even non-communicable diseases that impair the ability of a person to work safely in Operating Room are of public concern.

    The RTI law and the CIC cases are not clear as to how a PIO is supposed to resolve this issue. I suggest you can ask the technician if he/she has any objection to such release. Then show the objection to the requestor and ask requestor if the requestor has any reason to say that some public good will come out of release of such private information. The requestor should show some evidence that release of this private information is good for public.

    The US Supreme Court was faced with a similar case under Freedom of Information Act of USA. The name of the case is not in my mind. If someone is very interested I can find the name. The US SC ruled that the requestor has to provide enough evidence that a reasonable person would believe that release of information will be beneficial to the society.

    (The US laws are different and the case was not exactly about private medical information. So it is not entirely applicable to the situation. The RTI is much more in favour of release of information compared to FOIA of USA. So the degree of proof that the requestor has to provide should be pretty minimal under RTI.)

  5. Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    satishji, even if the person is suffering from communicable disease or impaired function due to whatever reason, it is the duty of hospital administration to inform the health authorities or take any other suitable action to ward off the danger to the public. the matter would remain tightly confined between himself and hospital authorities.a third person would never have any say in this matter in the garb of 'public interest'

  6. Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    Dear Moorthyji:

    I am not sure I understand the complete situation in this case.

    The first post said "His HOD provided info that he is having some disease."

    What is HOD? Who is having some disease? Is it the applicant or the Operating Room technician?

    My explanation was very general. If a member of public has some evidence that greater public benefit will be served by release of private information, then under RTI the PIO should release that information. The delicate balance or privacy of individual and benefit to public is something that has to be decided on a case by case basis. I was suggesting a way to proceed in this case.

    Let us say that a hospital employee is suffering from a disease that impairs his ability to take care of patients. Now the hospital adminstrator is responsible to correct the situation. However the adminstrator fails to do so. A member of public has some evidence of the employee's impairment. I think under RTI, the member of public should have access to the information, as to the extent of impairment and what action administrator took to correct the situation. Otherwise there would be no way for public to find the government cover-ups.

    What do you think?

  7. #7
    Mohamed Rafi
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    Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    I think you can access the information if it is in larger public interest since he is working in a operation theater where precaution of higher standards are necessary to avoid infection.
    If your application was rejected try to appeal with strict emphasis on public interest and safety.

  8. Re: who is third party in Cases of RTI?

    Shri Tarun,
    I fully agree with Shri Satish and Shri Mohamed. U should prefer first appeal in public interest and in the interest of patients of the hospital.
    It takes each of us to make difference for all of us.

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