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Delhi High Court asks Centre to solve AIIMS crisis

Expressing concern over the ongoing strike by resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Delhi High Court today directed the Central Government to solve the crisis.

“We are conscious, and we must be concerned on the issue. The Government must act to sort out the problem because patients are facing problems,” the high court said.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice M K Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna also said that if the Centre fails to take action, then the court would take action.

“If you (Centre) do it today, then it’s ok, but if you fail to resolve the crisis, then we have to take action,” the Bench said.

It further said that the Government cannot refuse to give degrees to the doctors. The strike entered its third day today, crippling medical services at the hospital.

Doctors said that they will approach the Supreme Court today, a day after were assured by Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss that the issue of awarding degrees would resolved soon.

Anil Sharma, General Secretary of the Resident Doctors Association (RDA), said a senior lawyer is preparing a petition seeking a directive from the court to the government to issue the certificates immediately.

“We will plead before the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing in the matter, as time is running out for a number of students who are planning to go abroad for higher studies,” Sharma said.

The decision comes after a general body meeting, which was held late on Wednesday night. Ramadoss said on Wednesday that the issue would be resolved soon, and appealed to the doctors to return to their work.

“We have asked the director of AIIMS, Venugopal to take immediate cognisance of it and to rectify the issue and put out the certificates, and also to convene the convocation immediately,” said Ramadoss.

“Everything will be for patient care, welfare and the patients’ help. The hospital convocation will be held on September 25,” AIIMS Director P. Venugopal said.

The Minister has refused to sign the degree certificates, as they were signed by the Registrar of AIIMS, Dr Sandeep Agarwal.

“Dr Agarwal’s appointment as Registrar does not have the approval of the (AIIMS) Governing Body. Therefore, these documents are illegal, and I cannot put my signature on illegal documents,” said Ramadoss.

Doctors have been on strike since Tuesday evening, protesting against the delay in the award of their degrees for the past three years.

They said those who have qualified for various medical courses, are facing difficulty in seeking jobs or pursuing higher studies in the absence of their degrees.

Meanwhile, Ramadoss has cancelled his visit to Bhutan, where he was scheduled to attend a meeting of the WHO.

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