Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) medical superintendent (MS) Dr AK Gupta moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Friday and got a stay order against the proceedings on the chargesheet issued to him by the institute for ‘disobeying’ union health minister’s order.
The CAT also issued notices to respondents — union health ministry and PGIMER, and the next date of hearing is July 27. “Till then, further proceedings on the impugned chargesheet shall remain stayed,” the order reads.
Dr AK Gupta had applied for the post of director, PGIMER for which the last date of receiving applications was April 20, 2016. Since he hadn’t received vigilance clearance, it meant that he could not contest for the post of director.
What is the case?
The case dates back to 2014, when Dr AK Gupta went to Nepal for a 90-day long WHO assignment from September 15 to December 15, after taking permission from PGIMER director.
But when the leave was forwarded to the ministry of health and family welfare, the same was not sanctioned and he was asked to come back. The then Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had reportedly expressed surprise as to how Dr Gupta had gone to Nepal on a WHO assignment as a hospital management specialist, without taking consent of the ministry.
Vardhan cancelled Dr Gupta’s leave and a message was conveyed to the doctor on September 29, 2014. However, instead of following the orders and coming back, he chose to stay back and filed an appeal with the ministry, seeking permission but he didn’t get a reply. He even extended his leave by 15 days. Not satisfied from his reply, on November 16, 2015, the ministry ordered the director, PGIMER, to initiate regular departmental inquiry against the applicant on two counts — continuing on WHO assignment in Nepal in spite of health minister’s disapproval; and not adhering to the requirement of depositing part of the consultancy fees he had earned during the assignment.
In April 11, Dr YK Chawla, director, PGIMER served a chargesheet to Gupta under Rule 14 of the Central Civil Services (Classification Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965.
The chargesheet reads, “Dr AK Gupta has misconduct…(sic) himself by disobeying the orders of the superior authority. Thus, he has failed to maintain devotion to duty and acted in a manner unbecoming of an employee of the Institute…” In the chargesheet, the director added that Dr Gupta had indulged in misconduct by accepting remuneration/ salary from another government, in spite of the fact that his request for grant of Ex-India (Extraordinary) Leave had been declined. “He has further misconduct himself by accepting remuneration/ salary from another government, in spite of the fact that his request for grant of Ex-India (Extraordinary) Leave had been declined…”
“The chargesheet has not been approved by the competent authority, which is the governing body… in the case, director PGIMER has not applied his mind while signing the chargesheet,” reads Dr Gupta’s application submitted to CAT.
Vigilance clearance denied to Dr Gupta
Dr AK Gupta had applied for the post of director, PGIMER for which the last date of receiving applications was April 20, 2016. But he was not given vigilance clearance.
The application submitted to CAT reads, “That the applicant has come to know that after closing date of receipt of applications, PGI has granted vigilance clearance to all other candidates in the month of May, 2016 except the applicant, whose nominations have been forwarded through PGI…reason being the chargesheet.”
While Dr Gupta has said in his application that PGIMER’s director has powers - the provisions of serial No. 57 of Schedule I to Regulation 25, which inter-alia vest power to permit the faculty to go abroad for short assignment up to 180 days.
However, under second rule, provisions of Schedule II to Regulations 38, the leave application was forwarded by the director office of the ministry of health and family welfare as per which, the permission from president, PGIMER is required.