| Vyasji. Telegraph picture |
The high court on Friday expressed its anguish over the missing record pertaining to the rules framed by the state government in 1997 for granting recognition to auxiliary nursing midwife (ANM) institutes.
The health department’s principal secretary, Vyasji, admitted before the division bench of Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Vikash Jain that the record pertaining to the rules had gone missing. “In spite of all our efforts, we could not find it (record). We have initiated department proceedings and issued showcause notices to the employees responsible,” Vyasji stated in the affidavit submitted by the health department.
Expressing its anguish over the sorry state affairs of the health department, the court said the record had not been produced despite its order. Thus, there is no option but to proceed further in the case without records.
“If you will ask (us) the record of 1917, we will produce it outright but the state is unable to produce the record of 1997,” the bench made an oral observation during the course of hearing a bunch of petitions filed through advocate Arun Kumar seeking direction to the state government to grant permanent approval to the ANM institutes.
Around 65 institutions have approached the court for the directive to the state government. Hearing the petitions on August 12, the court had directed Vyasji, the principal health secretary, to personally appear before it on August 23 with the original record of the 1997 rules on recognising nursing institutes in the state. Following the government’s failure to produce the record on Friday, the court decided to hear the matter on August 29.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Arun Kumar submitted that the state government was intentionally not producing the record as rules were framed by the state government in 1997 to grant recognition to the ANM institutes. The state’s counsel contended that the Bihar government did not have the power to grant recognition to institutes for running nursing courses. The recognition could be granted by the Nursing Council of India (NCI), he added.
The NCI’s counsel, S.N. Pathak, said the NCI was neither made a party nor was given an opportunity to be heard, so how can the institutes claim for recognition. He added that the decision of the single bench to set aside the order passed by NCI secretary was not correct. The NCI secretary’s order says that only NCI can grant approval to the nursing institutes after proper inspection of the institute in question.
The single bench of the high court on January 8 had directed the state government to grant permanent recognition to the ANM institutes and then forward the names of the institutes to the NCI for recognition. Later, the state government filed an appeal before the division bench in the high court, seeking quashing of the order. The bench on March 20 stayed the order.