“Rulers in autocracies create and apply the legal norms governing the social order from above without any participation by the individuals who are subject to them. Whereas democracies, in so far as they allow the greatest possible number of persons to be subject to rules of their own making, approximate a legal order structured around individual autonomy”
The preamble of the Right to Information Act, 2005 clarifies that the purpose of the Act is to “promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority”.
The website of the Government of India, http://www.righttoinformation.gov.in says, “The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens,promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government,contain corruption, and make our democracy work for the people in real sense.It goes without saying that an informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed”.
But, the CPIO of the Headquarters Office of the ESI Corporation maintains total silence and does not respond to many applications sent for seeking various essential details pertaining to the ESIC’s medical college issue. Law permits drawing adverse inference when the public authority does not discharge his legal duty to respond but maintains total silence.
Excerpts from an unanswered application sent by a citizen of India on 19.05.2015 which had been delivered to the CPIO on 25.05.2015 are given below:
1. The Indian public have been informed through the ESIC’s Press Release dated 07.04.2015 that the ESI Corporation had, in its meeting dated 07.04.2015, discussed regarding the provision of “option” to employees/insured persons to choose either ESIC benefits or Health insurances products recognized by IRDA. It has been mentioned in the said press release that “It was felt that if workers have an option it is likely to bring in competition, leading to improvement in service by ESIC ”.
2. I, therefore, request you to kindly supply the following information to me under sec.6 of RTI act 2005.
a. Kindly intimate whether any intensive and extensive study was conducted by any committee of experts who examined the benefits provided under the ESIC act to the employees/insured persons with reference to the benefits alleged to be available to those who are covered under the medical benefit scheme by the IRDA- recognized health insurance providers.
b. If so, please furnish the details of the names of the Chairman and Members of the concerned committee of experts.
c. Please intimate the date on which the said committee had submitted its report to Director General of ESI Corporation.
d. Kindly intimate whether the said committee of experts examined only the medical benefits provided uder the ESI Scheme vis-s-vis the medical benefits provided by the IRDA recognized health insurance providers or whether the cash benefits provided under the ESI Scheme also.
e. It has been mentioned in the said Press Release dated 07.04.2015 that it was “felt” that if the workers had option it will lead to improvement in services. Please intimate, with reference to the record, who “felt” so.
f. Kindly intimate whether the Verbatim Minutes of the ESI Corporation Meeting held on 07.04.2015 is kept, to enable the insured population and the members of the public to ascertain whether any member of the ESI Corporation “felt” so only during the meeting.