Thirteen senior-most doctors continue in service at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) even after their tenures have ended.
This has invited the fury of younger doctors who are waiting to be promoted. One of them has written to AIIMS director Dr RC Deka seeking the removal of his departmental head.
The controversy goes back to July 2008, when the institute body had approved the enhancement of the age of retirement for medical teaching specialists from 62 to 65 years.
“It is about 18 months since the approval at the institute body meeting, but an official gazette notification from the health ministry is still awaited, leading to the unnecessary confusion,” said a source, unwilling to be named.
The health ministry and the AIIMS are at war as neither is willing to accept responsibility, pinning the blame on the other.
According to sources, AIIMS had sent the notification to the ministry twice since 2008, but the ministry has not responded.
Sources in the ministry say, that the notification has been sent for publication to the press, but the process takes time. “Following the Central Administrative Tribunal decision of September, 2009, the ministry directed that the notification be made retrospectively. The draft has been notified by the ministry and sent to the press,” a source said.
Some AIIMS officials fear the decision to “retrospectively” notify the draft will invite legal complications from junior doctors.
“But doing that (retrospective approval) will be against the opinion sought by AIIMS from the Attorney-General of India, who said that regulations cannot be amended retrospectively but can only be amended prospectively unless there is a provision in the statute,” said a doctor at AIIMS, pleading anonymity.
“Legal opinion was sought this year, after the AIIMS administration received instructions from the ministry,” said the source.
The AIIMS faculty body is divided on the issue. “Both the retired and the succeeding doctors are members of the association. It is an administrative matter and they should find a solution before more people go to court,” said Dr Manoj Singh, president, Faculty Association of AIIMS.