The High Court has quashed the appointment of two Assistant Professors in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) Department of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura for lack of eligibility as per the MCI guidelines.
A division bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice M K Hanjura dismissed the review petition by SKIMS against the order it had passed in a Public Interest Litigation on July 11, 2014. The SKIMS as well as the two assistant professors had filed the review petition after the Supreme Court had permitted it to withdraw the SLP with a liberty to approach the High Court.
While disposing off the Public Interest Litigation, the court had held that the two doctors, Dr Abdul Hamid Rather and Dr Javid Sheikh, who were appointed as assistant professors in PMR department of SKIMS, did not possess the requisite qualification as prescribed by the rules. As per MCI guidelines, the requisite academic qualification for the assistant professor is M D (PMR) / MD (Medicine) with diploma in PMR.
On 31 December 2004, the respondents issued an advertisement notice for filling up various positions including two posts of assistant professors in (PMR) Department. While the two doctors responded and were found ineligible, the apical selection committee in august 2005 recommended their appointment as senior residents subject to the condition that they shall obtain diploma in PMR to become eligible. It was decided that till then the two posts would be reserved for them.
Since the two doctors failed to obtain the requisite diploma, the apical selection committee yet again recommended that the two doctors be sponsored to any of the five institutions it mentioned for obtaining the diploma. Instead of undergoing the diploma course, the two doctors were appointed as assistant professors in PMR department.
While quashing their appointment as assistant professors, the court observed, "There is nothing on record which would satisfy this court that the private respondents (two doctors) made any effort to apply for admission to the courses run by those institutes in the field of PMR and that their applications were rejected."
"We can ill afford to show all such appointments to continue in prestigious medical institutes including the present one by a faculty who is not qualified," the court observed. In response to the SKIMS contention that the two doctors have now gained experience, the court said, "Any such effort to permit continuance of such doctors notwithstanding the fact that they would have acquired some experience in the field during the course of their illegal appointment could negate the effort of specialized bodies like MCI at achieving academic excellence in the medical faculty besides jeopardizing the patient care in the hospitals."
The court said the appointment of the two doctors as assistant professor in the PMR department of SKIMS is contrary to rules as they do not possess the requisite qualification as prescribed by the rules to hold such post.
Meanwhile, in a contempt petition, the court directed the respondents to furnish details of the salary and other benefits released in favor of the two doctors as assistant professors from July 11, 2014 till date. The court also sought details of the directors of the SKIMS in place since July 2014.
In the PIL, the appointment of the two doctors as assistant professors in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation vide government order no 34-SKIMS was questioned for being against the requisite qualification laid down by MCI for the post.