HC to AIIMS ex-acting chief: Why ‘interfere’ with sr docs?

New Delhi, May 9 A day after the Supreme Court reinstated Dr P Venugopal as the AIIMS director, the Delhi High Court on Friday issued a contempt notice against his predecessor for defying a judicial restraint to stop “interfering” in the work of senior resident doctors at the institute. Justice Anil Kumar passed the order on an application moved by 16 doctors. The petitioners had claimed acting director T D Dogra and registrar L R Murmu had called them for an interview to reconsider their appointments as “senior residents”.
The court has given Dogra and Murmu time till May 29 to file a response as to why contempt of court action need not be taken against them.
The residents had moved the court challenging an April 26, 2008 letter from Dogra, and signed by Murmu, to senior residents, directing them to appear for an interview scheduled between May 10 and 12. This, despite a High Court order on January 11 that directed the AIIMS Body to maintain status quo.
“It is submitted that the respondent (Dogra and Murmu) are possessing an attitude of disregarding the order passed by this court and is deliberately and wilfully committing acts of omission and commission constituting violation of the order dated 11.01.08,” the doctors contended.
Questioning legality of the April 26 letter, the doctors today asked in court why they should appear for such an interview when they had already been appointed as senior residents at AIIMS. They recounted that AIIMS had on May 22, 2007 issued an advertisement inviting qualified doctors for the post of senior residents with various departments. As per the Central Government Residency Scheme, 1974, the appointments are for a term of three years.
However, the appointment letters — received after much delay from July/August, 2007 — curtailed their term to one year. The institute body justified this move, senior counsel Maninder Singh told the court, on the ground that the “government was deciding on a legal question”.
After doctors moved the High Court, resulting in the January 11 restraint order, Dogra subsequently issued a termination order against A K Mishra, cardiac surgeon and senior resident to Venugopal. Mishra moved the court, which promptly issued a contempt notice against Dogra on February 14, 2008.
Venugopal gets HC noticeDelhi High Court today served a fresh notice on Dr P Venugopal on a petition filed by AIIMS’s former PRO for an independent inquiry against the newly reinstated director for allegedly withholding his personal belongings. These include documents such passport, PAN card, LIC and chequebooks among others, the petitioner claimed. The court has fixed August 5 as the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, Venugopal will carry out his first surgery post-reinstatement on one-and-a-half-year-old George Sajid. The boy from Pakistan was admitted in AIIMS on Tuesday with a hole in his heart.
Express News Service
Posted online: Saturday , May 10, 2008 at 12:15:59Updated: Saturday , May 10, 2008 at 12:15:59

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