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Minister told to sign on AIIMS line

New Delhi, Sept. 3: Delhi High Court has asked health minister Anbumani Ramadoss to sign AIIMS degree certificates “within 24 hours”.

Ramadoss has been refusing to sign the certificates of AIIMS pass-outs over his long-running feud with the institute’s director, P. Venugopal.

The minister had blamed Venugopal for the delay in issuing the certificates, following which the Resident Doctors Association had gone on a two-day strike. The protest had thrown patient services in the country’s premier medical institute into disarray and prompted the high court to intervene.

Over 700 such certificates are pending with the institute for the last two years.

Justice S. Ravinder Bhatt said: “The Union health Minister shall affix his signature on 49 certificates/degrees as well as such other certificates of students who need these to take admission for higher studies. The minister shall sign the certificates within 24 hours.”

The court directed AIIMS officials to immediately forward these certificates to the minister’s office so that they can be flown to Chennai for his signature.

The judge also made a reference to the feud between the minister and the director, saying: “You are using the court as a tool which I won’t allow. You are resorting to shadow boxing.”

AIIMS Resident Doctors Association secretary Krishna Kant Mishra hailed the court decision. “The high court has solved a big problem.”

The BJP was quick to demand the health minister’s resignation. “It is a major embarrassment for the UPA government, and the minister should resign on moral grounds,” it said.

The certificates bear four signatures, that of the AIIMS director (Venugopal), the registrar, the dean and the AIIMS president (now Ramadoss).

But with Venugopal refusing to accept Ramadoss’ nominee V.P. Gupta as the registrar over his own, Sandeep Agrawal, and the matter pending in the high court, Ramadoss had refused to sign any certificate.

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