The issue of grant of a further “extension” to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) Director-Principal Raj Bahadur is shrouded in controversy as the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER) here has sought his repatriation from his “deputation” to GMCH.
Professor Bahadur was Head of the Department of Orthopaedics and GMCH Medical Superintendent from 1998 onward before joining PGI as Professor of Orthopaedics in 2006. Though he resigned as HoD and Medical Superintendent, he had “retained” his lien with GMCH before moving on to PGI. He was selected as Director-Principal of GMCH in December 2007 for just one year, but was granted extensions repeatedly.
It is learnt that Prof. Bahadur, who was one of the applicants for the PGI Director's post, has sought yet another extension now despite having reached the retirement age on June 4, 2009. According to rules, the retirement age of the Director-Principal is 58, while the GMCH faculty retire at 60.
According to insiders, Prof. Bahadur's appointment as Director-Principal was challenged in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as well as in the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2008 and 2009-10 respectively on the basis of documents of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which establish that “his appointment was not as per norms and never ratified”. However, the Tribunal dismissed the petition on technical grounds that the petitioner had no locus standi as he had already crossed the age of 58.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court had in March 2010 issued notices to the Chandigarh Administration, the UPSC, Prof. Bahadur and others on a petition filed by retired GMCH Director-Principal Hari Mohan Swami seeking the Professor's removal as his “appointment on deputation was done by the Chandigarh Administration in direct violation of the notified Recruitment Rules”.
It was also contended that the UPSC — the sole selecting and recommending authority — had not granted any sanction. It is learnt that the High Court had admitted the petition.
Insiders say the Chandigarh Administration's repeated requests to the UPSC to ratify his appointment and further “extensions” were rejected. Rather, the UPSC sought fresh proposals from the Administration for filling up the post. These issues were also brought to the notice of the President in a representation filed by a senior faculty member in February 2010, but there has apparently been no response.
The Chandigarh Administration put out advertisements for the post of Director-Principal in September and nine candidates, including two from PGI, two from Shimla and Delhi and the rest from GMCH, applied. However, it is learnt that the Chandigarh Administration is yet to seek UPSC's concurrence on filling up the post. Insiders say the Administration has urged the PGI Director not to “insist on Prof. Bahadur's repatriation”.
There is resentment among GMCH faculty over the move to grant yet another “backdoor extension” to the Professor, who is said to “wield political clout”..
According to faculty members, Prof. Bahadur's “tenure” has been “lacklustre” as GMCH has not been able to start MD/MS courses in major subjects. It has also not been able to utilise a Rs.45-crore grant given for upgradation of facilities.