A SEARCH and selection committee constituted by Union Health Minister J P Nadda to recommend a panel of doctors to select PGIMER director used “merit and suitability” to shortlist the panel, Union Health Secretary C K Mishra told the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on Thursday.
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The commission recently put the selection on hold after they received a complaint from an SC and ST body of PGI alleging discrimination in the process against SC candidates. The Union Health Secretary was asked to appear before the committee in the case.
As the case came up for hearing on Thursday, Union Health Secretary C K Mishra appeared before the commission and explained how the panel was shortlised by a committee constituted by the Union Health Ministry. As he was asked to explain the criteria, Mishra told the commission the shortlisting was done as per the “merit and suitability”. The secretary then presented its action taken report, following which the commission asked the petitioners to submit a rejoinder. The next date of hearing is December 12,” said Ishwar Singh, a commission member. “The commission also questioned why parameters like seniority, administrative experience and merit were not taken into account to shortlist the panel.”
Singh said that the health secretary told the commission that applicants for the PGI post were asked to come up with five slides. “No preference was given to seniority. We also came to know that one of the shortlised applicants had faced a vigilance probe in the past and another candidate is not even heading a department,” he said.
The commission, Singh said, will give its further comments only after the petitioner submits the rejoinder. “The commission has already said till the clearance of commission is issued, the selection may be put on hold,” he said.
A controversy has erupted over the selection of a panel by the selection committee which was headed by Mishra. Dr Anil Bhansali, head of Department of Endocrinology, Dr Meenu Singh, who is from the Department of Paediatrics, and Dr Jagat Ram, head, Advanced Eye Centre, were recommended by the selection committee.
The selection panel has triggered resentment among the PGI faculty who have raised questions about the shortlisted doctors. Of the three shortlisted candidates, according to senior faculty members, one of them is junior in terms of professor seniority list while another candidate had faced a vigilance probe earlier.