November 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Rohtak, November 23
The decision of denying recognition to the post-graduate degree (MD/MS) conferred by the Panjab University on those who underwent training at the PGI Chandigarh, not as regular students, and appeared in examination as candidates of the Panjab University instead of the PGI Chandigarh, was communicated to all concerned again by the MCI on October 7, reiterating its decision of October 31, 2001. The post-graduate degree of Maj-Gen (retd) Punia falls in this category.
General Punia of NOIDA was tipped for the post of Director, PGIMS, Rohtak in December last year.
The Secretary Health Department, Haryana, vide his letter of December 6, 2001 had requested the Secretary MCI, to convey whether Maj-Gen (retd) Punia had qualification and experience for the post of Director or not? The joint secretary MCI replied on January 11 that General Punia’s post-graduate degree was not recognised by the MCI and thus “he can not be considered for appointment as a teacher in a Medical College in India”.
Around the same time a Maj-Gen (retd) from NOIDA took over as an Administrator of the MCI. It appears, the secretary MCI was pressurised into amending the previous order of January 11 and conveyed on February 4 that the matter of recognition of postgraduate degree of Maj-Gen Punia was under active consideration.
However, there was no scope for no before Army top brass, the same joint secretary of the MCI on February 21 completely lacked out his previous letter of January 11 and conveyed to the Secretary, Health Department, that in view of the long experience Maj-Gen Virender Singh Punia may be considered eligible for the post of Director in a medical college. Subsequently, he was appointed Director, PGIMS in April 2002.
However, as per rules /decisions of the MCI executive committee, Maj-Gen (retd) Virender Singh Punia does not have teaching experience (five years as Professor) essential for the post of Director. Recognition of his postgraduate degree, which the secretary, MCI, had said on February 4 was under consideration was again refused recognitions by the MCI and institution concerned was conveyed this decision on October 7, 2002.
The MCI has rejected the case of Maj-Gen (retd) R.K. Arora and Brig Aggarwal for the post of Director Agroha Medical College, they were similarly placed experience wise and had recognised degrees.
The matter came to the notice of the MCI Executive Committee at a meeting held on October 30 which took strong exception to such practices and the office/officials concerned came under fire for their role in the case.
The PGI, Chandigarh, was established by an Act of Parliament on April 1, 1967 as an autonomous body to impart post-graduate/post-doctoral training in various branches of Medicine/Surgery. Section 23 of the Act also provides that the institute would confer medical degrees and diplomas. The institute has been admitting regular students to various postgraduate courses twice a year and conferring degrees/diplomas.
However, some candidates, not admitted as regular students to the PGI Chandigarh, after undergoing necessary training in the PGI Chandigarh, appeared in their examination from Panjab University, Chandigarh. But the Medical Council of India refused to recognise such degrees and conveyed its decision to all concerned on October 31, 2001. The matter was brought before the MCI again for consideration. It did not agree to accept degrees granted by Panjab University.
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