Dr Asha Kishore quits SCTIMST, says continuing would be detrimental to her health

Shashi Tharoor called this decision a loss to the institute and to India.
Dr Asha Kishore
Dr Asha Kishore
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In a fresh turn of events, the former director of the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) Dr Asha Kishore has applied for voluntary retirement from service and has said that continuing in the post would be detrimental to her health. Dr Asha’s move is the outcome of a slew of events in the last few months where a group of people at the institute allegedly backed by outside political forces with vested interests tried to remove her from the post.

The Institute Body had given an extension to Dr Asha to continue for five more years in May. However, this was challenged at various levels. The first opposition from outside came from Rajiv Kumar Tayal, a Deputy Secretary rank officer of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), who said that the authority for approval of extension in tenure of Chief Executives of autonomous institutions lies with the Appointment Cabinet Committee (ACC). He demanded that SCTIMST withdraw the extension.

In the application for voluntary retirement addressed to Dr VK Saraswat, President of SCIMST, Asha sought to leave from December 9.

“The decision of the Institute Body to extend my term was based on the provisions of the growth of the Institute and performance and my contributions to the growth of the Institute and performance as director in the preceding five years. The extra ordinary events of the last few months and the stress of working under such situations has made me realise that it would be detrimental to my health and I would not be fully productive if I continued in the Institute. Under these circumstances my continuation in service in the Institute is extremely difficult and detrimental proceedings /judicial/ proceedings is pending against me,” the application reads.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor MP has called it a huge loss.

“What a loss for SCTIMST as petty politics triumphs over merit and a first class scientist and leader is pushed aside. They will savour their victory but the Institute and India will lose. All that remains is for the new builidng to be named for Savarkar, since Golwalkar is already taken,” Tharoor tweeted.

Founder and Trustee at Anaha Trust Chandrasekhar Balagopal said Asha waged a historic fight.

“After waging a historic fight against opponents backed by a powerful political party and other narrow vested interests Dr Asha Kishore leaves the battlefield unbowed and undefeated. It’s India’s science and technology endeavor as a whole and the autonomy of an Institution of National importance created by an Act of Parliament that have suffered another grievous setback,” he said in a Facebook post.  

SCIMST is a Central government institute with autonomous power.

The HC on December 9 said that the question was whether the Appointment Cabinet Committee’s ‘(ACC) approval was required for extending the period of tenure of  Dr Asha Kishore. “When the Central government based in its dated on 2006 June clarifies the position, we have to proceed on the basis that the dispute stands resolved by the direction issued by the Central government. Going by the statutory provisions, it might be true that the institute has the power to extend the tenure of a Director, but such extension should be with prior approval of ACC. Since ACC approval has not been obtained in the matter, there is justification on the part of the Tribunal in rejecting the plea of Dr Asha Kishore and therefore necessarily a fresh selection has to be conducted in the matter for appointing any person to the post of Director,” the HC observed.

The Central Administrative Tribunal stayed the extension on August 5 on a petition moved by a faculty of the Institute Dr Sajith Sukumaran. He once again moved the Ernakulam Bench of the CAT, challenging the extension.

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

Sree Chitra Institute row: HC sets aside stay on director Dr Asha’s extension


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