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IHBAS Director recruitment process likely to be finalised by November 30: Delhi govt tells Delhi High Court

Advocate Mini Pushkarna representing Delhi Government submitted that the ruling government is in the process of selecting subject experts for constituting a screening committee to shortlist the desired candidate for the post of director.

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The Delhi Government has informed the Delhi High Court that the recruitment process for the post of Director of Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, is likely to be finalised by November 30.

The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was on Thursday hearing a plea challenging the Delhi Government’s decision to extend the tenure of the Director of IHBAS, even after he has attained the age of superannuation.

The Delhi Government has filed a response in pursuance of order dated September 10, 2021, wherein the Government explained that the delay in recruitment procedure has been caused on account of high raging pandemic in the national capital, due to which the Selection Committee could not be convened.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, alleged that the Delhi Government has time and again, extended the service tenure of Director, IHBAS – Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, who retired in October last year.

“The Government has throughout been saying that they started the process of selecting a new Director some time in January….They are continuously being taking the excuse of the pandemic for not selecting a regular Director and they are just continuing to give him ad-hoc extensions one after the other,” he stated.

In response to the query raised by the Bench in respect of the time period within which the recruitment process is likely to be completed, Advocate Mini Pushkarna, representing the Delhi Government, submitted that the process would be completed by November 30.

She informed the Bench that the ruling Government is in the process of selecting ‘Subject Experts’ for the purpose of constituting a Screening Committee to shortlist the desired candidate for the post of Director.

Pushkarna added that the Subject Experts are expected to be selected by October 3, following which the process of recruitment for the post of Director would commence. In light of these submissions, the Bench adjourned the matter, while opining that the process should be completed at the earliest. 

The Bench noted, “We expect from the respondents that the selection process of Director of Respondent No. 6 (IHBAS) shall be completed at the earliest. It is not necessary for Respondent Nos.1 to 3 (Delhi Government) to wait till November 30, which is an outer limit. The work can also be completed prior to the aforesaid time limit.”

The matter is fixed for next hearing on November 15.

A petition has been filed by Tej Bahadur Singh, a retired professor from IHBAS, challenging extension of service tenure of Director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences Dr. Nimesh G. Desai beyond the age of 65 years. It is alleged that the same is against settled law and principlesof law.

As per the petition, “The Institute is an autonomous body registered under the Societies Act 1860, funded jointly by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and Government of NCT of Delhi. It is submitted that IHBAS is a prime Hospital and its affairs need to be organised and controlled by the authorised and legally selected and appointed person. The affairs of the Government Hospital under the garb of autonomous body, cannot be hood winked and the rules and regulations cannot be thrown to the wind,”

It averred that the Delhi Government failed to comply with the DoPT rules governing the procedure of extension of tenure of any government employee beyond the age of superannuation, so as to wrongfully favour Dr. Desai.

“Dr. N.G. Desai Respondent no. 5 who was appointed as a Director in accordance with the recruitment rules, rather it can be said the existing rules, has attained the age of 65 years i.e. the age of superannuation on 18.10.2020, but he is being permitted to control the activities and affairs of the institution even after the said date and is being permitted to work as Director by Respondent no. 3 and 4, with no authority to do so and their action is totally non-est. It is submitted that the existing recruitment rules not prescribe for such extension at all,” noted the petition.

It was submitted that Dr. Desai has been acting in a most vulnerable and illegal manner and causing a serious prejudice to the public at large and the institution Public Hospital IHBAS imparting the most important medical services to the citizens of the country.

“That the transparency and fairness are the basic fabric of the democratic system of the Government. The citizens as well as authorities who are empowered to run the institution like the institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) etc. are duty bound to follow the rules and regulations, procedure of the law as well as precedence. The affairs of the Government body and Government institution are required to be conducted as per the settled position of law that and the individual whims and caprices cannot be permitted to be imposed upon the institution and further to flout basic rules and regulations and common law. In other words, it can be said that every person who is in the helm of the affairs for conducting the business of a Government body, are bound to follow the rules and they cannot be permitted to act in an unreasonable, unfair and arbitrary manner.”

“The custodian of the property cannot be permitted to usurp the property or to misuse the same for any other purposes than to safeguard the interest of the public at large; Further every person is bound by the rules of the law and violations thereof for causing any favour to any person, by compromising the interest of the public at large and the institution, would be the most vulnerable as well as detrimental for the citizens as well as for the institution,” stated the plea.

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