Stay not a setback to the Ministry as it was a collective decision of the AIIMS body, says Minister
"Removal being made into a political issue" Salary to be cut for striking doctors Anbumani claims he has Manmohan's support
NEW DELHI: The Centre will take legal action, including moving the Supreme Court, against the Delhi High Court's stay on the recommendation of the Institute Body of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences to remove Dr. P. Venugopal as its Director, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.
Talking to reporters here on Friday, Dr. Ramadoss said they were yet to receive the copy of the order and a decision would be taken after discussing it with the Attorney General.
"It is just a stay order, the world will not come to an end. It is not a setback to the Ministry either since it was a collective decision of the AIIMS body and not a personal agenda," he said.
Dr. Ramadoss explained that while the proposal to remove the Director was moved by him, it was backed by members of the governing Institute Body.
"The members could have vetoed it [the proposal] if they wanted to." He said Dr. Venugopal's removal was an administrative issue but it was being made into a political one. "When Arun Jaitley takes up the case for Dr. Venugopal, it becomes a political issue," he said.
On the strike by the AIIMS doctors, Dr. Ramadoss said they would not be given any salary for the time they struck work but there would be no other action, if they resumed work by Saturday morning. "If they don't come for work, we will discuss the matter." Appealing to the doctors to be more responsible, the Minister said there was nothing against them.
The Ministry had foreseen the possibility of a strike and tried to take alternative measures, but had faced opposition from within the Institute, he said.
Claiming that he had the full support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the matter, Dr. Ramadoss said he was not under any pressure and the issue had not caused any embarrassment to the Government.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare has "deplored" the move to sack Dr. Venugopal.
Several members of the Parliamentary Committee that met here on Thursday also criticised the style of functioning of Dr. Ramadoss. A resolution adopted at the meeting, chaired by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, "deplored" the decision and asked the Government to find a solution to the issue in the interest of the people who were suffering due to the strike.
Sources said senior Congress leader A.K. Antony and party MP Sukhbans Kaur favoured the resolution.
Bharatiya Janata Party MPs, Maneka Gandhi and Uday Singh, criticised alleged interference of the Minister in the functioning of the institute.
Only one member, Karan Singh Yadav of the Congress, dissociated himself from the resolution as he was member of the Institute Body that recommended the dismissal of Dr. Venugopal.