M A I N   N E W S

Venugopal’s ouster stayed
HC passes interim order till Aug 17
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 7
In a major victory for sacked All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr P. Venugopal in the fight for autonomy of the institute in his faceoff with Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss, the Delhi High Court today stayed the resolution for his removal passed on July 5.

In an interim order, Mr Justice Anil Kumar stayed the operation of the board decision, passed by a 12-3 majority at an emergency meeting called by Dr Ramadoss.

Taking cognisance of Dr Venugopal’s petition, the court issued notices to Dr Ramadoss, the Health Ministry, the AIIMS and the Election Commission.

The Election Commission was named as party by Dr Venugopal, accusing Dr Ramadoss of violating provisions of the office of profit Bill by drawing remuneration from the AIIMS as its president while also being an MP.

The court said the interim stay would continue till further orders while fixing the date for the next hearing in the matter for August 17.

The stay was granted after over three hours of arguments by Additional Solicitor-General (ASG) Gopal Subramaniam and Dr Venugopal’s counsel Arun Jaitley.

While the ASG tried to defend the resolution, claiming that enough opportunity was given to Dr Venugopal to quit honourably for his alleged misconduct, Mr Jaitley said putting pressure on him to resign was confession of mala fide intention on the part of the government.

Mr Jaitley questioned the allegations of misconduct against Dr Venugopal and accused the government, particularly the minister, of acting in an arbitrary manner to ensure that he was removed from the post of AIIMS Director by any means.

“Terminating the tenure of Dr Venugopal is completely illegal and unsustainable and needs to be quashed”, Mr Jaitley said, adding that his appointment to the post was for a fixed tenure of five years.

Apart from challenging his dismissal, Dr Venugopal had sought to restrain the government from appointing another Director in his place.

He had sought a direction to the Election Commission to conduct an inquiry on the office of profit issue against Dr Ramadoss for holding the post of AIIMS president.

The court had also been requested by him to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances under which Dr Ramadoss was nominated a member of the AIIMS board and then made its president.




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