Pushkar row: HC asks AIIMS not to replace HoD without its nod
New Delhi: Delhi High Court has come to the rescue of the head of AIIMS forensic department, Sudhir Kumar Gupta, who had alleged discrimination for refusing to act unprofessionally in the Sunanda Pushkar autopsy matter, asking the Institute not to replace him without its permission.
“Without expressing any opinion on the contentions raised by the petitioner (Gupta), we direct the respondent No.1/AIIMS to take leave of this court in the event of any contemplation at their end to replace the petitioner from the post of HoD,” a bench of justices Kailash Gambhir and I S Mehta said.
The bench also issued notices to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) seeking their reply on Gupta’s plea.
Gupta, Head of the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology Department, had challenged a March 4 decision of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) rejecting his charge that one Dr O P Murty was promoted after purging his seniority, with the purpose of obtaining a tailor-made report in the sensational murder case of Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor.
He also alleged that AIIMS had illegally purged his seniority with “malafide intention” to punish him for refusing to act unprofessionally in the autopsy matter.
Senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, appearing for Gupta, had submitted that the doctor was appointed HoD in 2013 after taking into consideration his seniority as Professor (Forensic Medicine and Toxicology).
He said there was “serious apprehension” that in light of the CAT decision which was now under challenge, AIIMS may decide to replace him by appointing Murty or anyone else.
The court, which restrained AIIMS from removing Gupta without its prior leave, asked the counsels of both parties to file the synopsis of written submissions along with the supporting judgments before the next date of hearing.
Absolving former Union minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor of the charge of wrong-doing, CAT had said, “the email sent by Shashi Tharoor, the then Union Minister, to Dr Rajiv Bhasin, on January 26, 2014, and the notice dated June 2, 2014 issued by Dr Adarsh Kumar, Member Secretary, Medical Board, AIIMS do not reveal anything to show that any pressure was put on the applicant to submit a tailor-made autopsy report in Sunanda Pushkar’s case.”