Venugopal back in AIIMS Director's seat | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Venugopal back in AIIMS Director's seat

In a massive embarrassment to A Ramadoss, the SC reinstates noted cardiologist P Venugopal as director of the AIIMS, reports Bhadra Sinha. Battle ends in triumph.

delhi Updated: May 09, 2008 01:23 IST
Bhadra Sinha

In a massive embarrassment to the UPA government and Health Minister A Ramadoss, the Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated noted cardiologist P Venugopal as director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Allowing Venugopal’s petition, the court struck down the AIIMS Amendment Act, 2007 that ousted him from the post. “The amended provisions have been held to be unconstitutional,” a bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and H S Bedi said, adding that the law was discriminatory and brought in specifically to superannuate Venugopal, who is due to retire on July 3, 2008.

Barely hours after the court verdict, Venugopal reached his office and was seen signing papers.

Reacting to the decision, he thanked all those who had supported him in his long battle against the minister: “I have always served the institute and will continue to do so. I thank all right-minded people who are concerned with the well-being and furtherance of advancement of AIIMS in serving the masses of this country,” he said in a statement.

Following the order, the BJP demanded the resignation of the health minister, a PMK nominee in the UPA government. Terming it as a “slap on the face of the face” of the government, BJP spokesperson Sushma Swaraj said: “The ruling has come as a defeat of Ramadoss’s mala fide intentions.”

The Congress dismissed the BJP’s demand saying that the Act was passed by Parliament and it wasn’t the health minister’s decision.

Putting up a brave face, Ramadoss rejected calls for his resignation, saying the decision was approved by Parliament.