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Gross injustice against SC doctors in AIIMS: SC commission

July 26, 2007 15:40 IST

In what could be a setback to embattled All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director P Venugopal, the National Commission of Scheduled Caste has found instances of 'gross injustice' and 'systematic violation' against Scheduled Caste doctors and students in the institute.

The commission, probing allegations of discrimination against SC students and doctors, said the premier institute had been following an 'illegal reservation policy' and sought its amendment.

"AIIMS has been following a floating reservation policy for the past 21 years. This has harmed the interest of the reserved category students. This is against the constitution and has not been approved by the Cabinet or by the Department of Personnel," commission chairperson Buta Singh said.

"It is an illegal policy, as they have taken the decision on their own. They have to amend it," Singh told PTI.

He said the commission has so far found instances of 'gross injustice' and 'systematic violation' against SC students and doctors in the campus.

The commission began the probe following complaints from the reserved category senior resident doctors, who said that instead of allotting 50 per cent quota seats to them, authorities gave appointment letters to only 24 of them, out of the 106 selected candidates.

While a large number of these reserved category doctors are on a relay hunger strike since July 18 at the institute, the Health Ministry has also set-up a committee to probe the matter.

"We are conducting the hearing and as we have the powers of a civil court. We will soon come out with a verdict," the chairperson said.

Singh said he had two meetings with Venugopal on the issue.

"He has been blaming the AIIMS governing body for all the ills. So we have decided to summon all the members of the committee, including the Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss to take the final decision on the matter," he said.

He said they are also studying the Thorat Committee report, which had found sufficient evidence to show that the AIIMS administration headed by Venugopal played a pro-active role in the anti-quota agitation.

UGC Chairman S K Thorat has in his report mentions the discrimination the reserved category students face in hostel and at the institute. The report has been challenged by the

AIIMS Faculty Association who petitioned the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

The commission head said they will also look into 'specific suggestions' of discrimination raised by the students.

"Thorat committee had given suggestion about how to remedy the situation. We plan to implement all these suggestions," he added.

"We are yet to complete our probe. But we have found enough evidence that shows that the students were facing discrimination. We want to set things right in the premier institution," he said.
Kavita Bajeli-Datt in New Delhi
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