High Court orders status quo on selection process for Jipmer director

The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered maintenance of status quo in so far as the ongoing process for selection of director for Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) in Puducherry was concerned. The interim order would be in force for a week.

Justice T. Raja passed the order on a writ petition filed by senior faculty members — R. Raveendran, Gopal Krushna Pal, Ashok S Badhe, Abdoul Hamide, Surender Kumar and Sunil K. Narayan — alleging various irregularities in constitution of the screening committee and short listing of candidates.

Senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the petitioners, told the court that Jipmer was an institute of national importance and it falls under direct administrative control of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The term of office of its incumbent director ends on March 23 and, therefore, a notification was issued last year calling for applications.

As per the notification, the applicants must have a standing of not less than 25 years in the profession and out of that period, 10 years should be in teaching or research. They must possess a postgraduate qualification in medicine, surgery, public health or their branches apart from extensive administrative and practical experience.

The last date for submitting applications was January 3 and many doctors, including the writ petitioners, applied for the post. However, the incumbent director, Subhash Chandra Parija, suddenly introduced a new requirement with the “oblique motive” of getting Professor of Medicine V.S. Negi selected to the post, the senior counsel alleged.

He claimed that the deputy director of the institute had sent individual e-mails to the applicants on February 12 asking them to send their articles or publications listed in American indexing service PubMed alone and not in any other indexing agency. This requirement, according to the petitioners, was introduced to favour one particular applicant.

They also alleged that the deputy director had constituted a screening committee unilaterally, without obtaining prior approval from the governing body of the institute, though the recruitment notification issued on November 18, 2017 does not empower the official to constitute such a committee.

Further, pointing out that select candidates alone had been called for an interview scheduled to take place on Wednesday, the petitioners claimed that the selection process was “highly secretive and opaque.” Hence, the judge ordered notice to Jipmer and directed it to maintain status quo until the case was heard next week.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 11:56:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/high-court-orders-status-quo-on-selection-process-for-jipmer-director/article23230941.ece

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