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Bachelor, widower, virgin? Bihar hospital asks staff in marital declaration form

Authorities pin the blame on poor translation, saying the right word in the form at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences hospital should have been unmarried.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2017 00:00 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
IGIMS,Bihar healthcare,Mangal Pandey
IGIMS Patna asks employees to declare their virginity in a marital status declaration form.(ANI Photo/Twitter)

For 34 years, Patna’s premier autonomous health facility, the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), has made employees declare before joining whether they are virgin or not. Now, after a furore, authorities pin the blame on poor translation making its way into the institute’s marital declaration form.

The form, existing since the inception of the institute in 1983, makes employees declare whether they are bachelor, widower or virgin. Employees also have to state if they have more than one wife.

Newly appointed health minister Mangal Pandey of the BJP was caught unawares when reporters asked him about these stipulations on Wednesday. Pandey told a news channel it was an employee’s zodiac sign that had to be mentioned on the form and nothing more.

When HT posed the same question to the institute’s medical superintendent, Dr Manish Mandal, he replied, “Our rules and forms are the same as those of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. We have simply adopted it in letter and spirit.”

Asked about the mandatory virginity declaration, he said, “In Devanagari (Hindi language), unmarried girls are referred to as ‘kunwari kanya’. The word virgin for it is a case of poor translation. The right word should have been unmarried.”

He added, “Mention of the word virgin on the form has nothing to do with the virginity of an employee. It only seeks to know the marital status of an employee... The IGIMS follows AIIMS, which in turn follows the Central Civil Services (CCS) rules.”

He said employees fill the form at the time of joining so that their dues can be settled on the basis of their declaration in the event of death while in service.

Reached for comment, AIIMS said it had no such columns in its recruitment forms.

Despite the outcry, Bihar’s top hospital will be stuck with virgin on its form because it cannot make a change on its own. “The IGIMS cannot change it. If anything has to be amended, it can be done only through legislation or on orders of the judiciary,” said Mandal.

The IGIMS was established on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi, to provide super specialty medical facilities in Bihar. Its board of governors, the supreme body of the institute, has 13 members, with the state’s health minister as its chairman.

The institute’s director is its member-secretary. Three IAS officers — principal secretaries of health, finance and development — and eight doctors are its members.

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 21:53 IST