Dr Ahanger’s Ouster: HC Seeks CS’s Affidavit

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SRINAGAR — The J&K High Court has asked Chief Secretary to file by July 12 an affidavit, delineating whether its order was conveyed or not to him on a contempt petition filed by Prof A. G. Ahanger against his removal as Director SKIMS.   

A bench of Justice M K Hanjura also directed the chief secretary whether Dr Ahanger requested him that he should be allowed to participate in the deliberations of the Governing Body as Member Secretary.

Prof A. G. Ahanger is aggrieved the Government order no.45-GAD of 2018 dated 6th January 2018, whereby he has been relieved of the duties of the post of the Director, SKIMS and Ex-Officio Secretary to Government, with immediate effect and directed to report to the General Administration Department.

He said that he substantively holds the post of Professor in the department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, SKIMS (Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar). His appointment as Director, SKIMS, has been made after a full-dressed selection process was put into motion by the Governing Body of SKIMS, he said. In terms of the Government Order no.13-HME of 2017 dated 12th January 2017, he was confirmed as Director SKIMS and Ex-Officio Secretary to Government of Jammu and Kashmir, for a period of five years or till he reaches the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

It is maintained by Prof A. G. Ahanger that on 5th January 2018, one of the Private National Television Channels exhibited sting operation conducted by one of their correspondents showing that three doctors, being faculty members in SKIMS, were found indulging in private practice, which was not within his knowledge. He claimed that immediately after sting operation was telecasted, he addressed a communication to the Chief Secretary of the State, reporting disclosure so made and for further advice and appropriate action. On the basis of the report the Chairperson, Governing Body of SKIMS, accorded approval to the placement of the three doctors under suspension and also holding of enquiry against them. After his ouster, he moved a representation to the Chairperson of the Governing Body on 8th January. He said there was a well thought of plan to engage somebody else in his position and this could only be realized after his removal when there was no justification to pass the impugned order as he had nothing to do with the misconduct of three doctors, whom he had placed under suspension after the accord of approval by the Chairperson. He submitted that Ahanger had sought appointment with the competent authority but it did not materialise and he even made enquiry from other senior government servants but they all were tight lipped and said nothing. Even Prof A. G. Ahanger made a representation, on which no action was taken. This, according to petitioner, has forced him to knock at the portals of this Court with the writ petition, seeking quashment of the order with a further direction to the respondents to allow him to resume the duties of the post of Director SKIMS. On 11th January 2018, the court stayed the order bearing no.45-GAD of 2018 dated 6th January 2018. He contended that he on the same day i.e. 11th January 2018, resumed the duties as Director, SKIMS and Ex-Officio Secretary to Government and conveyed the same to all concerned. On 12th January 2018, a meeting of the Governing Body of the SKIMS was convened at Jammu, which ratified the decision taken previously by the Chairperson vide Government order no.45-GAD of 2018 dated 6th January 2018. The Governing Body also authorised the Chairperson to order appropriate enquiry into the issues relating to “lack of supervision and control by the petitioner over the recent months”. The Governing Body also ratified the decision relating to the entrustment of the charge of the post of the Director, to Dr.Prof. Omar Javed Shah, previously ordered vide Government Order no.84-GAD of 2018 dated 11th January 2018, till further orders and till a regular arrangement was made by the competent authority.

He contended that after the Court passed the orders and he resumed the duties as Director SKIMS, he learnt that a meeting of the Governing Body was being held at Jammu. He flew to Jammu, being Member Secretary of the Governing Body. He met the Chief Secretary, J&K State, as well as Private Secretary of the Chairperson of the Governing Body, to allow him to participate in the deliberations of the Governing Body as Member Secretary. “But both expressed their helplessness.” Prof A. G. Ahanger said he was not allowed to participate in the deliberations. Instead Prof. Omar Javed Shah was allowed to act as Member Secretary of the Governing Body, where ultimately various decisions were taken. He  all those persons who participated in the decision making were aware of the order passed by the Court and therefore, there was no escape for the contemnors and those as may be found guilty by the Court, after the records are summoned for the contempt of the Court. “The Chief Secretary, J&K State, shall file an affidavit to the effect whether the order of this Court was or was not conveyed to him and whether the petitioner requested him that he should be allowed to participate in the deliberations of the Governing Body as Member Secretary,” the courts said that such affidavit be filed on or before next date on July12.  

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