Legal Correspondent

“Anbumani’s one-point agenda is to somehow remove me from the post”

Retrospective effect for amendment “unconstitutional”

Faculty association questions Anbumani continuing as AIIMS president

New Delhi: Within a day of Parliament passing the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, P. Venugopal moved the Supreme Court challenging the law which, he said, was intended to curtail his tenure as AIIMS Director.

The Faculty Association of the AIIMS, New Delhi, and its president B.K. Khaitan also filed a separate petition on Thursday to restrain the Centre and Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss from interfering either directly or indirectly in AIIMS affairs.

Dr. Venugopal said he was appointed on July 3, 2003 for a five-year tenure under the provisions of the Act governing the AIIMS.

He alleged that the Minister’s one-point agenda was to somehow remove him from the post and the Delhi High Court also criticised Dr. Ramadoss for this. The Minister took various steps including efforts to bring in an ordinance more than once, and now succeeded in passing the amendment Bill seeking to remove him from the office even before July 3, 2008, when his tenure ends.

Dr. Venugopal said that under Section 11 of the AIIMS Act, 1956 there was no upper age limit for the tenure of the Director. But this section was now amended with retrospective effect and a stipulation made to the effect that the Director of the AIIMS and the PGI would hold office only up to 65 years of age and that the present incumbent would cease to be Director on his attaining 65.

The petitioner said the retrospective effect, which prejudicially affected him, was unconstitutional in the light of various apex court judgments.

He alleged that the amendment was brought in to deprive him of the benefits of the directions issued by the High Court. He also sought a direction for an interim stay of its operation.

The faculty association, besides seeking to quash the amendment, questioned the nomination of Dr. Ramadoss as AIIMS president and his continuance in that post. It said his acts of omission and commission would result in the premier institution losing its autonomy.

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