Chandigarh: The appointment of the new director for the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has been put on hold by the Schedule Castes Commission, after a body of schedule castes and Schedule Tribe employees at the institute created a strong opposition against the move.
The SC/ST body is reported to have alleged discrimination against SC category candidate during the process to select the PGI director. After the SC/ST body wrote a letter to the ACC, the apex commission in this regard has issued summons to the Union Health Secretary CK Mishra and PGI director directing them to appear before it on November 17.
The SC/ST body has requested the government in its letter to cancel the entire selection process done and start with a fresh one, reported The Indian Express.
It was last week when three names came to light for the appointments, as suggested by the institutes body (IB). The list included Dr Anil Bhansali, head of endocrinology, Dr Meenu Singh, who is from the Department of Paediatrics, and Dr Jagat Ram, head, Advance Eye Centre.
The declaration of these candidatures came after the selection committee constituted by the health ministry first named them.
However the selection has not gone well with the Commission who has questioned the entire process of selection
“We asked the Joint Secretary to explain the criteria to select the PGI director… he couldn’t provide any information. So we have now summoned the health secretary on November 17. The commission also issued direction to put the ongoing process of PGI director on hold till the commission is properly satisfied,” said Ishwar Singh, NCSC member.
Singh stated that the commission also asked the Joint Secretary that why there was no inclusion of SC members in the selection list.
During the initiation of the process of selection, around 26 applicants were chosen and were interviewed last month. The Committee is headed by Union Health Secretary C K Mishra and has Dr V M Katoch, former director general of ICMR, and Dr Shridhar Dwevedi from Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences & Research, New Delhi, as members. It is said that out of the 26 members, 5 were schedule casts. Soon the selected names were forwarded to the ACC.
As there were no names of SC members in the list of chosen three candidates for the director post, aggrieved SC&ST body wrote to the national commission calling the interview fake and blaming the committee of cheating in the selection process.
The letter read: “No SC member was included in the selection committee. The committee interviewed 26 candidates including the five SC candidates. We had represented to the government about the non-inclusion of an SC member as per government practice and rules. However, our plea was not heeded to and the above committee went ahead with the interview. The interview was an eyewash and as expected, the SC candidates were not given justice by the committee.”
On Thursday, Secretary of the health ministry and Prof K L N Rao, acting PGI director, appeared before the commission, while the proceedings began. The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), on Thursday, did not allow the process to move forward as the Union secretary, health did not appear, instead, he sent the joint secretary on his behalf, reports TOI.
Singh told TOI from New Delhi, “We were satisfied with the criteria given for the selection process, which included academic qualifications, experience etc. However, the joint secretary was not part of any of the proceedings for the selection. Therefore, we have asked the Union health secretary to appear. He has been issued summons for November 17.”
The schedule casts commission has issued directions to hold the ongoing selection process for the appointment of the new director. The selection process will not be moved till the commission is satisfied.