Government suspends International Institute for Population Sciences Director James for ‘hiring irregularity’

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says suspension is not punishment but way to ensure free and fair investigation

July 29, 2023 08:12 pm | Updated July 30, 2023 11:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Prof. K.S. James. Photo:

Prof. K.S. James. Photo:

The Central government has suspended the Director of the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), K.S. James, citing irregularity in recruitment. 

The IIPS works under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and conducts important studies like the National Family Health Survey, Assessment of National Rural Health Mission, and the Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

The Ministry on Saturday said various complaints were received regarding irregularities in recruitment and compliance with reservation roster.

“To investigate these issues a fact-finding committee (FFC) was constituted by the Health Ministry. Based on the documents/information available from IIPS statements from both the complainants and respondents, the reports of the special audit team, team for examining reservation and roster registers at IIPS, and the sub-committee for examining the non-selection of the Hindi officer, the FFC examined each of the complaints received and submitted its report which was accepted by the Ministry,’’ said a note.

It added that FFC found prima facie irregularities in 11 of the 35 complaints received. The irregularities were mainly regarding lapses observed in certain appointments, recruitments of faculty, reservation rosters, dead stock registers etc. The FFC has also recommended detailed inquiry against the registrars concerned for the corresponding period and the Director concerned.

The Ministry in its one-page brief further said that as the charges are serious and grave in nature the Director of IIPS also is directly and indirectly responsible for failure to exercise adequate supervision. He seems to have failed to detect these irregularities promptly and take corrective action in a timely manner, it added. 

“Therefore his presence as head of the Institution may hinder a fair investigation and cause interference in the proceedings. It was also apprehended that his presence may minimise required cooperation of the other officials of IIPS with the investigation team,” the Ministry said.

It was felt necessary to “prevent avoidable interference” in the probe to “frame a firm chargesheet” and “institute a fair disciplinary proceeding against the Director IIPS and other officers (if required)“. “Hence during the period of further process of investigation, it was decided to suspend Director IIPS under the Rule 10 (1) (a) of CCS (CCA) Rules 1965,’’ said the Ministry. 

It has further explained that suspension is not a punishment but resorted to in specific circumstances to pave way for free and fair investigation. The suspension initially is for a period of 90 days or completion of further investigation whichever is earlier. It is revocable with the approval of the Suspension Revocation Committee/Review Committee in the Ministry.

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