BJP terms SC verdit on Venugopal ''judicial treatment'' for Ramadoss

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New Delhi, May 8 (UNI) Welcoming the Supreme Court verdit on the AIIMS (Amendment) Act, the opposition BJP today termed it as a ''judicial treatment for an unhealthy Health Minister.'' BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told UNI here that his party had ''from day one been raising the issue of Union minister Ambumani Ramadoss' attitude towards former AIIMS director P Venugopal inside and outside Parliament.'' ''His stand from the very onset was unhealthy, undemocratic and politically motivated,'' Mr Naqvi added.

The BJP also charged the Health minister with tarnishing the image of AIIMS as an institute of higher learning. ''If the minister continues to satisfy his ego, the institute will face further embarassment,'' he added.

He said the SC ruling would work as a ''judicial treatment for an unhealthy minister.'' In a major victory for former AIIMS director P Venugopal, the apex court this morning quashed the AIIMS (Amendment) Act as unconstitutional.

According to the impugned amendment, the retirement age of the AIIMS director was fixed at 65 years with a maximum tenure of five years, whichever was earlier.

Dr Venugopal, an eminent cardiologist, was removed from his post as he had already crossed the age of 65 years though his retirement was due in July this year.

A bench comprising justices Tarun Chatterjee and Harjit Singh Bedi declared the amendment unconstitutional on the grounds that the entire act was brought in to target the petitioner Dr Venugopal.

The logical consequence of today's judgement is that Dr Venugopal may have to be reinstated and allowed to complete his tenure till July this year.

UNI KAS/NAB SB NS1352

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