The Congress was left deeply embarrassed and agitated by the Supreme Court verdict reinstating Dr P Venugopal as the AIIMS director. The party, however, rejected the BJP’s demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dismiss Health Minister Ramadoss for the episode.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said that Parliament had passed the Act and it was “not a decision” of the minister. Besides, he said, the Act was not specific to AIIMS alone and had also covered the PGI at Chandigarh.
There were several leaders in the party who, in private, said the AIIMS case could be seen as one bordering on interference since the Act (that was used to remove Venugopal) was passed by Parliament. They also wondered how the noted surgeon could have resumed charge of the institute unless the government issued a relevant notification in the wake of the court order.
BJP’s Deputy Leader in the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said Ramadoss has “misused” the Parliament to remove Venugopal from the post of Director after he did not get a favourable verdict from the High Court.
Swaraj said the Supreme Court established that Ramadoss’ intention was malafide and dishonest.
The BJP had opposed the passage of the AIIMS Amendment Act seeking to limit the superannuation age of the AIIMS Director when it was introduced in Parliament in November last year.
BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “It is a judicial treatment for the unhealthy attitude of the Health Minister.”