P Venugopal on Wednesday approached Delhi high court with a PIL, alleging nepotism and favouritism in recruitment, order of merit and seniority of faculty at the premier hospital.

Well-known surgeon who performed the first heart transplant in India and former director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) P Venugopal on Wednesday approached Delhi high court with a PIL, alleging nepotism and favouritism in recruitment, order of merit and seniority of faculty at the premier hospital.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice on the veteran doctor’s plea, seeking the stand of AIIMS and the Centre on the charge that recruitment to faculty posts were being influenced by political and other considerations rather than merit and rules were being bypassed.

P. Venugopal says “The issues raised in the PIL involve greater public interest. Being a pioneer and premier institution, the repute of AIIMS is at stake due to inaction on part of the institute and the ministry of health and family welfare, which is the parent ministry,”.

Underlining his association with AIIMS, which is almost half-a-century long, senior advocate ADN Rao, appearing for Venugopal cited several RTI replies received from the institute to highlight how “merit is determined in closed chambers on the basis of non-existent or arbitrary grounds while ignoring actual markings awarded in selection process to a candidate.” The plea alleges that current recruitment and promotion system “leads to dilution of merit” where faculty members were directly engaged in patient care, research, education and training future generation of doctors.

It urges the court to intervene and give correct interpretation of the scheme for direct recruitment at AIIMS. The PIL wants the court to declare that seniority or the order of merit of a candidate will be “strictly determined” only by the grades and marks obtained and their sum total. Venugopal also wants permanent norms to be framed to end the “arbitrariness and absence of transparency in the selection process” that has always been plagued by “uncertainty.”

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