RTI filed by six Nair doctors reveals four of Mumbai's BMC hospitals hired more professors than sanctioned from 2006 to 2009. Loss to BMC exchequer amounts to over Rs 40 crore; HC orders inquiry
A response to an RTI filed by six assistant professors at Nair Hospital and T N Medical College, Mumbai Central, even at the start seems like it could be a Maharashtra version of the Vyapam recruitment scam that rocked Madhya Pradesh earlier this year.
Between 2006 and 2009, four BMC-run hospitals in the city — Nair, KEM, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital and Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College (Sion), and Dr R N Cooper Municipal General Hospital and Medical College — hired 50 more doctors than required across various departments. The doctors were hired at the post of Assistant Professors and their appointment, in the past nine years, has cost the BMC over Rs 42 crore.
Petitioners say the currently, the dean of Nair hospital appoints Assistant Professors, while the dean of Sion hospital (in pic) coordinates for the appointment of Associate Professors and the KEM (below) dean coordinates for appointment of professors
In fact, a division bench of the Bombay High Court while disposing of a writ petition filed on September 15, 2015, by the six assistant professors from Nair Hospital, on November 23 directed the respondents, including state of Maharashtra and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, to decide the matter. The time given by the bench — comprising Justice Anoop Mohta and AA Sayed — was three months from the date of order.
The six petitioners are Dr Ramesh S Waghmare, Dr Vyankatesh T Anchinmane, Dr Sandeep B Bhete, Dr Sushma B Chandekar, Dr Varsha S Suryavanshi and Dr Pawan R Sabale. The six petitioners — selected in interviews conducted by the Municipal Medical Staff Selection Board (MMSS) in the MCGM Medical colleges between 2005 and 2009 - have alleged that due to the extra legal hiring, they lost their seniority to those appointed in unsanctioned posts.
In the last three year, the petitioners filed a series of RTI applications to various authorities, seeking information of appointments made from 2006 to 2009. The responses they received, they say, reveal the malpractice in hiring at the four medical colleges.
They say that the responses to the RTI reveal that between the said years, the four hospitals and medical colleges hired 50 assistant categories — 28 candidates in the open category and 22 from backward categories.
The responses reveal that all four colleges, across various departments and categories, had more staff than the sanctioned number. Additionally, even the system of hiring showed that rules were not being followed.
The petitioners alleged that according to a BMC circular, dated November 5, 2009, the roster of class I (Associate Professors) and class II (Assistant Professors) officers of MCGM’s medical colleges should be prepared by MCGM administration and then verified by Principal Secretary, Backward Class, Mantralaya.
The RTI response, however, reveals that the dean’s office prepares the rosters of medical faculty posts (across subjects) and these are verified by Joint Chief Personal Officers by Backward Class Cell, by MCGM administration on behalf of the Principal Secretary Backward Class Cell Mantralaya.
One of the petitioners, not wishing to be identified, says, “All rosters should be routed and verified by the state government. As per the present practice, the dean of Nair Medical College appoints Assistant Professors for all four medical colleges under BMC, while the dean of Sion medical college coordinates for the appointment of Associate Professors and the KEM dean coordinate for appointment of professors, bypassing the rules.”
The monthly salary paid to an assistant professor in 2006 was around R60,000. Over the years, this was revised and today stands at R70,000. Thus, the amount that BMC has been losing over the last nine years amounts to over Rs 40 crore.
The petitioners add that while they did try to raise these concerns with the MCGM and state government, they didn’t receive any response. "That’s when we decided to approach the Bombay High Court. We suspect this is the tip of the iceberg,” said one of the petitioners.
In their defence
Dr Suleman Merchant, dean of Sion hospital, said, “The allegations are baseless. Firstly, I am not aware of such a writ petition in the Bombay High Court and its subsequent order. Secondly, the workload at Sion hospital has gone up from four lakh OPD patients in 1988 to 19 lakhs OPD patients in 2014. We are already falling short in all categories of teaching faculty (Assistant Professors, Associate professors and professors).
We are in constant correspondence with the authorities at MCGM to increase the numbers sanctioned to us. Moreover, as the dean, I have no power to recruit any Associate Professors directly. I can only coordinate and put up names for promotion of existing Assistant Professors or put up a selection category vacancy to Maharashtra Public Service Commission through the appropriate authority.”
The dean of Nair Hospital, Dr Ramesh Bharmal said, “I am not aware of the court order. The matter is being dealt by the law department of MCGM and I am not authorised to comment on this issue.”
While sunday mid-day tried calling Director, medical education and major hospital, BMC, Dr Suhasini Nagda and Dean of KEM Hospital Dr Avinash Supe, neither answered their phones. We found out later that they are not in Mumbai.