Health Ministry defends AIIMS (Amendment) Act in SC

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New Delhi, Jan 4 (UNI) The Union Health Ministry in its counter affidavit filed in the Supreme Court has defended the AIIMS (Amendment) Act 2007, fixing the retirement age of AIIMS director at 65 years.

The government in its response to the petition filed by former Director of AIIMS, P Venugopal, challenging the Act, has contended that it was an Act of Parliament and not of Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and hence, the petition should be dismissed as the government has powers to fix the upper age limit/ retirement age of the employees.

Dr Venugopal has challenged the Act on the grounds that he was being targetted by Dr Ramadoss and the Act has been introduced with the sole aim of removing him from the post of Director.

If the Act is upheld by the apex court then Dr Venugopal, who is already 66 years of age, will have to go.

A bench headed by Justice Tarun Chatterjee while issuing notices on the petition of Dr Venugopal had made it clear that in view of the facts of the case the court was with Venugopal and also wanted to know from the government why an eminent doctor was being humiliated.

The government in its affidavit has also pleaded that since Dr Ramadoss has not been made a party in the petition it is liable to be dismissed on the ground of non-joinder of necessary party.

The government has also contended that though Dr Venugopal is a renowned surgeon, his physical condition is not good and he has not performed any operation for a long time and has to be helped by attendants while reaching office sometimes. The Act is also applicable to the Director, PGI Chandigarh.

According to the petitioner, the retirement age of Director PGI Chandigarh is 62 years and as the present Act has no application his case stands dismissed.

The impugned Act has fixed the maximum tenure of Director AIIMS at 5 years or on attaining the age of 65 years whichever is earlier.

Dr Ramadoss and Dr Venugopal have been at loggerheads for a long time.

UNI AKS/SC PDT RP AS1918

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