In the absence of medical education and research minister Anil Joshi, who is currently on a personal visit abroad, his officer on special duty (OSD) Munishwer Joshi is acting on his behalf.
In a communication sent to the medical education and research director and Punjab Medical Council (PMC) registrar, Munishwer, acting on the minister’s behalf, has sought the official record pertaining to the appointment of the PMC president and related court cases.
The relations between the minister and PMC president Dr GS Grewal have not been going smoothly of late and Joshi has initiated an inquiry against Dr Grewal. Later, Dr Grewal’s brother Maheshinder Singh Grewal, who is adviser to the Punjab chief minister, had accused the minister of exceeding his jurisdiction saying he could not act against the president of the PMC, which is an autonomous body. To this, the minister had said that he was within his right to act against the PMC in case it did not function properly.
Munishwer told HT that the minister was expected back in a few days and he, despite being not being part of the government, could act on the minister’s behalf. “I can seek information on his behalf as I assist him on day-to-day functioning,” he said.
Medical education and research secretary Hussan Lal, when reached, refused to comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, senior bureaucrats accepted that though it was an irritant that a private person attached to the minister was acting on his behalf bypassing the official machinery, it was common practice. “The OSD doesn’t have personal authority, he is acting on the minister’s behalf. In case something goes wrong, the minister is responsible for it,” a senior IAS officer said.