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Inquiry exposes arbitrary AIIMS selection process
December 24, 2007 12:02 IST
An inquiry into irregularities in the appointment of faculty members at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has found the selection process to be arbitrary.
The inquiry has recommended steps be taken to address the current anomalies and fix strict guidelines for the future.
Between 1993 and 2003, AIIMS did not hold its regular selections because of agitations and litigation by the faculty objecting to reservations for SC, ST and OBC candidates in faculty selections, the probe committee constituted by the health ministry observed.
Instead, the vacancies at entry-level assistant professor's post were filled through ad hoc selections and appointments. The regular selection process was resumed after almost a decade in early 2003 when a standing committee was set up and the positions were advertised in 2002.
'The committee observed that the ad hoc selections between 1993 and 2003 as well as the process of regular selections of 2003 were characterised by a series of arbitrary, in-house decisions and actions that violated procedures,' the report said.
'First and foremost, for almost a decade, while regular selections of 2003 were held in abeyance, 152 out of 219 entry-level institute faculty were appointed as ad hoc staff in an arbitrary manner,' it said.
The report was submitted to the high-level AIIMS governing body on December 20.
'The committee did not find the pending court cases as sufficient justification for the administration not to follow any proper process for evaluating and selecting candidates, especially if faculty had to be appointed to this apex institute in such large number,' it said.
The committee noted that for the advertised 170 positions, a large number of candidates from all over the country and abroad had applied and 762 had appeared for the interview.
These included 151 ad hoc assistant professors from the institute and also 611 equally suitable candidates from the national pool outside the institute.
'Selection details available for 162 out of 170 positions revealed that 81 per cent of the 162 positions were filled by candidates from the ad hoc pool and only 19 per cent were from the national pool,' it said.
The report also found instances of highly meritorious candidates both in the reserved and in the general category who did not find place in the list of selected candidates.
'The committee concluded that the selection process lacked fairness and was designed primarily to regularise the existing ad hoc assistant professors in large numbers,' the report said.
The institute had also found eligible and promoted 64 ad hoc assistant professors under the assessment promotion scheme even though as ad hocs they did not fulfill the eligibility prerequisite of four years of regular service in the institute.
The committee further said that 'the institute's decision to regularise the ad hoc assistant professors from the time of their appointment was unlawful and the promotions could not be considered as legitimate'.
'All future appointments must first ensure that the backlog of reserved category shortfalls are filled on priority before appointing other categories,' they said.