Breaking rules, AIIMS professor given an extension

July 17th, 2008 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss

New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Despite a court order barring government officials from holding dual posts, the head of a premier medical institute in Chandigarh who is also a professor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and is a front runner to head the facility, has been given an extension in his latter post. K.K. Talwar, who is believed to be close to Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and others in high places, has been granted a 14-month extension with retrospective effect by the health ministry. He was appointed director of the Chandigarh’s Postgraduate Institute of Medical and Education Research (PGIMER) since 2004.

According to an official order, No.F.6-10/80-Estt.1., the government “approved the extension of lien and extension in service of Dr K. K. Talwar, director PGIMER, Chandigarh to the post of professor of cardiology at this institute (AIIMS) for a further period with effect from 1.5.2007 to 31.7.2008.”

The July 9, 2008 letter says the extension has the approval of AIIMS president - who is the health minister.

“During the period of retention of lien, leave, salary and pension contribution will be paid by the PGIMER, Chandigarh to AIIMS,” the letter further said.

The letter, issued by AIIMS chief administrative officer Attar Singh, is in response to the ministry’s letter of April 28 in this regard.

Interestingly, Talwar would have anyway retired from AIIMS April 30 this year as he reached the age of 62, the retirement age for a professor.

The order is a clear violation of the Delhi High Court judgement of March 29, 2007 saying that then AIIMS director P. Venugopal couldn’t hold the post of professor of cardiac thoracic and vascular surgery (CTVS) while continuing as the institute’s head.

The ministry then swiftly issued an order saying Sampath Kumar would be the next head of the CTVS department instead of Venugopal, who at that time was involved in a bitter turf war with Ramadoss.

Justice Swatanter Kumar, in his order, had said: “The government of India should take policy decisions in regard to the post of director and adopt the said policy uniformly and not vary its stand depending upon the person concerned.

“It is expected of the minister and the ministry to adopt a uniform practice and not follow the path of convenience. Show me the face and I will show you the rule,” the judge added.

The judge had also quoted from the rulebook that states that there was no provision of one person holding two substantive posts and thereby depriving another person of being appointed to the second post.

“It is difficult to understand the motive behind this order. The institute is not going to benefit out of this extension as he has not been present here for the last four years,” said a senior AIIMS professor of cardiology, requesting anonymity.

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