New Delhi: Holding that prima facie there were irregularities in the appointment and promotions of 164 Assistant Professors of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Supreme Court on Friday directed the High Court to examine afresh a PIL challenging their legality.

A Bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and Markandeya Katju felt that since the allegations were serious in nature the High Court ought not to have dismissed the PIL merely on the question of the locus standi of the petitioner.

When Addtional Solicitor-General Vikas Singh, appearing for the Centre, tried to defend the appointments, the Bench remarked, "The AIIMS is ailing, it needs a cure," and accordingly directed that the High Court will examine the complaint on the merits of the case.

The Bench passed the directions while disposing of an appeal filed by Dr. Sarman Singh an Additional Professor challenging the appointment of 164 Assistant Professors of whom 84 were subsequently promoted as Associate Professors.

The said appointments were made between 1995 and 2000 and 84 of them were granted ad hoc promotions. Dr. Singh filed a PIL in the High Court challenging the appointments and promotions as illegal, but a Division Bench dismissed the same on the ground that the petitioner had no "locus standi." PTI