Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had stayed the extension of Dr Asha Kishore’s tenure in early August.

Dr Asha Kishore
news Controversy Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11:05

Kerala High Court has set aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal that stayed the extension granted to Dr Asha Kishore as director of the Sree Chitra Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCIMST), Thiruvananthapuram. “We are of the view that the impugned order requires to be set aside and the matter requires consideration on merits,” the HC said on August 13 after hearing a petition filed by Dr Asha.

Following this, Dr Asha took charge as the Director of SCIMST on Friday.

Sree Chitra Institute is a central government institution that has the autonomous power to extend such tenures. However, when Dr Asha’s ensure was extended in May, many questioned the extension. In July, a faculty member of the institute moved the CAT and sought to revoke the extension. It was based on this petition that CAT, a statutory body that deals with the disputes pertaining to recruitment and service of persons appointed to public posts and services, had stayed the extension of Dr Asha’s tenure on August 5.

Setting aside CAT’s order, the HC pointed out, “For appointing a person as a Director, the recommendation of the selection committee constituted by the central government is required. In this case, the petitioner was appointed based on the recommendation of the committee in the year 2015 and the Institute was only extending her tenure for a further period of five years.”

The court observed that the procedure for the appointment is provided under Rule 7 (ii) of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, Rules and Regulations, 1984.

“As per this appointment to the post of Director shall be made by the Institute on the basis of recommendations of a Selection Committee constituted by the Central Government consisting of the Secretary, Department of Science and Technology of Government of India as Chairman, the Director-General of Indian Council of Medical Research, the President of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and the President of the Institution of Engineers (India) as members,” read the Rule.

Dr Asha, in a letter to Union Minister Harsh Vardan in June, had cited that she was being targeted and subjected to mudslinging by a few external persons.

The High Court also made reference to its own judgment in which a similar issue was considered by its Division Bench and it was argued that the issue projected in the present case has already been settled by the Division Bench.

The Court also made reference to a letter issued by Dr T Ramasami, Ministry of Science and Technology. The letter was sent while the extension of one Professor K Mohandas of Sree Chitra Institute was being considered. It stated that the Institute can issue an order to permit Mohandas to continue as Director till further orders are issued based on the recommendation of the Institute.

“It's there for argued that once the Institute had taken a decision to extend the period of service of the petitioner, no further permission is required either from the Central government or from any authority. It was also contended that the original applicant or the first respondent herein had no locus standi to prefer the application,” the court observed.

“It is clear from the materials placed on record that even on earlier occasions also the tenure of Directors had been extended by the Institute and therefore nothing wrong in the Institute taking such a decision,” the order further said.

The matter has been listed for hearing on September 23. “All parties shall file appropriate pleading in the case and the Tribunal shall make every endeavour to dispose of the matter, as expeditiously as possible. The Tribunal shall consider the matter untrammelled by any of the observations made by the court in this judgment,” the HC said.

Read: ‘I am being targeted’: Sree Chitra Institute director Dr Asha on row over her tenure

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