Imphal, Jan 29:
Perhaps an intentional negligence or may be a step motherly treatment from the side of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal which is directly administered by the Ministry even though affiliated to the Manipur University has many times put in trouble water.
Since 2015, none from the Ministry has ever taken interest in the final approval of the seniority list of professors and doctors even after the Executive Council of the RIMS had prepared a tentative inter-se-seniority list, but even after 7 years, the authorities at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare still is not taking up the issues and kept pending due to which instability at RIMS once more occurred.
After premature repatriation of Dr. A. Santa from the post of Director, RIMS on 12 October, 2022, to his parent institution – North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institution of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIMS), the authority of RIMS entrusted additional charge for the post of Director to Dr. L Ranjit Singh on the same day until a regular Director is appointed. The appointment of a new regular director of RIMS is pending as of now even though process for the selection has been partially completed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
On 19 December, 2022, Manipur High Court has directed the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to appoint the senior most professor as in-charge director of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal. The ruling of the Manipur High Court came following a petition filed by one Dr. Hemam Priyosakhi Devi, Head of Department of ENT, RIMS challenging the legitimacy of the appointment of one Dr. L Ranjit Singh (Prof. Obst & Gynae) on the ground that DR. L. Ranjit is not the senior most professor as per the tentative inter-se-seniority list of professors.
After hearing the argument of both the Counsels, the single bench of Justice Ahanthem Bimol Singh of the Manipur High Court quashed the order of the RIMS authority (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India) that entrusted additional charge of Director RIMSs to Prof. L Ranjit Singh. The Manipur High Court further ordered to make fresh in-charge arrangement to fill the vacant post of Director, RIMS, Imphal strictly in terms of the provisions of Rule 12(1)(iii) of the Rules and Regulations of RIMS. Provisions of Rule 12(1)(iii) of Regulations of RIMS says that “the officer to whom the additional charge is assigned is the senior most officer in the next lower grade and is clear from vigilance angle.”
The Manipur High Court order, however stands justified as it stated that the tentative inter-se-seniority list of Professors (RIMS) submitted to the court by the petitioner’s counsel has not been questioned or challenged by anybody. Thus, the Court accepted the tentative inter-se-senior list.
The order of the Manipur High Court dated 19 December last said to fill up the post on in charge basis to the most senior Professor. But the question arises here is how authentic is the tentative inter-se-seniority list of Professors (RIMS).
As per document submitted the Manipur High Court has delivered its order. But as the inter-se-seniority list that the petitioner claimed to have acquired through RTI has not been challenged it is pertinent to once more to get verified on who is the senior most Professor of RIMS.
Who is the most senior Professor at RIMS, Imphal? Is there an approved and authentic seniority list of Professors at RIMS?
The last time that the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences issued a notice on inter-se-seniority list of Professors of RIMS, Imphal was on July 27, 2015. The notice was issued by the then Director of RIMS Professor S. Rita Devi. The notice of the inter-se-seniority list of Professors was issued after thorough scrutiny by a committee constituted of three eminent officials under the chairmanship of Prof. W. Gyaneshwar Singh, former director of RIMS. However, a resolution adopted at the 46th meeting of the Executive Council Society of RIMS, Imphal held on October 20, 2015, at around 2.30 pm in the first floor Committee Room of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Nirman Bhavan, New Delhi under the chairmanship of the Secretary (H&FW) has resolved that ‘the inter-se-seniority list of the faculty members was considered and observed that Executive Council cannot decide on the issue at this stage. The executive meeting also resolved that Ministry should examine it separately as it required a detailed examination, with reference to Rules and Regulations.
On 3 January 2023, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (North East section) signed by Jitendra Kumar Jangid, Under Secy., Government of India wrote a letter to the Director RIMS in connection with the High Court order of December 19, 2022, to take immediate steps for finalizing the Seniority list of professors in RIMS, Imphal at the earliest. Earlier on 1 December 2022, the same under-secretary had written a letter to the Director to take immediate steps to finalize the Seniority list of Professors in RIMS, Imphal.
The letter to the Director of RIMS to take immediate steps for finalizing the Seniority of the Professor of RIMS shows that RIMS didn’t have an authenticated seniority list of Professors.
Following the intimation from the Ministry, the final seniority list of the Professors at RIMS was prepared by a four member senior officials including one from outside the RIMS under the Chairmanship of Prof. L. Deban Singh, HoD, Anaesthesiology, RIMS. The other two members are Dr. Y. Gopalkrishna Singh, Additional Director, Manipur Health Services, Govt. of Manipur, and Prof. Sarada Ningthoujam, Deptt. of Physiology, RIMS Imphal. Prof. Dr. AK Joy Singh, HoD of PMR, RIMS was the convenor. The committee after a thorough study of the joining of the Professors as per official documents available with the RIMS prepared the Seniority list on January 9, 2023
As per the findings of the four-member committee Prof. L. Ranjit Singh of Obst. & Gynae was listed as the senior most professor of RIMS. His date of birth is 1 September 1958. He was appointed to the post of Assistant Professor at the RIMS on February 1, 1997. Later he was promoted to Associate Professor on 1 February 2005 and then promoted to the rank of Professor on February 1, 2009. Dr. Deban, Prof. and Head of Anaesthesiology is listed as the second senior most professor. His date of birth is 1 Jan. 1962 and was appointed as the Assistant Professor, Associate professor, and later Professor on the same date as Prof. Ranjit.
The third senior most professor is listed as Dr. M. Birkumar of the Surgery Department, RIMS. His date of birth is 1 March 1960. He was appointed as Assistant professor at RIMS on 1 February 1998, but was promoted to associate Prof. and later to Professor on the same date with the above.
The fourth senior most professor is listed as Dr. AK Joy Singh, Head of PMR, RIMS. His date of birth is 1 Jan. 1962. He was appointed as Assistant Professor, RIMS on 1 March 1998 and promoted to Associate professor on the same day as the former professors mentioned above.
The fifth senior most professor of RIMS is listed as Dr. Priyosakhi Devi of ENT Deptt., RIMS. Her date of Birth is recorded as 5 June 1960. She was appointed as Assistant Professor in February 1999. However, she was also promoted to Associate Prof. and later to the rank of Prof. on the same date as the four other senior professors.
As per the directives of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the seniority list prepared was sent to the Joint Secretary (NE), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India on 9 January 2023 by the RIMS authority supported by documents.
Without going into the details or perhaps by side-lining the seniority list submitted to the Ministry for approval by the RIMS panel, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare all of sudden entrusted additional charge of RIMS Director to Prof. Priyosakhi by an order dated 16 January 2023.
It is likely that the functioning of RIMS is likely to be put on hold with another case challenging the seniority list coming at the Law Court.