'Bechelor' or virgin row

IGIMS in knots after purported form for staff goes viral

By Nishant Sinha
  • Published 3.08.17
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The purported form

Patna, Aug. 2: Employees at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) in Patna apparently have to fill up a form that asks them if they are "bechelor", widower, or virgin, it was revealed today.

News agency ANI put up a picture of the form on its Twitter feed today, and the hospital administration tied itself into knots - with the in-charge director denying the existence of any such form and the medical superintendent confirming that it was indeed a form that all employees have had to fill up since 1983.

The marriage declaration form - the language on which would make William Shakespeare run out of his grave wearing a toupee - also asks the male staff to declare whether or not they have more than one wife, while women employees have to provide details on whether their husbands have another wife living or not.

"The word virgin should not be seen only in a sexual context; it means unmarried women," said Dr P.K. Sinha, medical superintendent, IGIMS. Sinha claimed that in 1983, when IGIMS was established, Dr B.N. Tandon, who came from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and was made the first IGIMS director, had introduced the same form which was in practice at AIIMS-Delhi at that time. He, however, added: "The matter would be given a fresh look."

For the record, the right word for an unmarried woman is spinster. A senior faculty member at AIIMS Delhi, however, said he does not remember filling "such a bizarrely worded form" though he recalled that the form he had filled in 1993 had asked for marital status. The AIIMS doctor also said B.N. Tandon is "unlikely to have introduced a form with such language".

Dr S.K. Shahi, director-in-charge of IGIMS, however, claimed the purported form "is a complete fraud".

"Someone has done this fraud," Shahi said. "They have used the word virginity, which is nowhere in the original form. The form is as per the central service rules where a central government employee has to fill the marriage declaration form stating his/her marital status. Asking whether an individual is married is as per regular practice."

He, however, did not provide a copy of the original form.

When contacted, IGIMS director Dr N.R. Biswas, who is on leave, said: "As I am out of station, I can't comment right now. I have to look into the matter and can give a reply tomorrow."

A senior IGIMS doctor, who spoke under cover of anonymity, confirmed that he had filled up the form while joining.

"The institute follows the same protocol which is being followed by New Delhi's AIIMS. It's the same form," the doctor claimed, adding that filling the marriage declaration form is necessary because it determines the nominee in case of retirement or seeking a job on compassionate ground.

Established in 1983, IGIMS is an autonomous organisation on the lines of AIIMS. IGIMS, with a budget of over Rs 133 crore, is one of the biggest health-care institutions in the state and the only super specialty institute of Bihar that provides education and conducts health and medicinal research.