The Central Government on Thursday received a major setback with the Supreme Court striking down the law that enabled premature retirement of noted cardiologist P Venugopal as Director of the prestigious AIIMS after a raging row with Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.
A bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and HS Bedi upheld the appeal filed by Venugopal challenging the impugned law as being discriminatory and malafidely brought to superannuate him.
Venugopal had contended that the amendment was brought with the sole purpose of removing him from his office due to his differences with Ramadoss.
The amendment relating to the AIIMS Act fixed the upper age of retirement of Director at 65 years leading to Venugopal's retirement.
Senior counsel and former Law Minister Arun Jaitely had contended on behalf of Venugopal that the Act was illegal as the High Court had in March last year upheld his continuation in the post and the matter was pending in the apex court. But the Centre in the meantime brought the amendment in Parliament, he said.