After the controversial ruling of Supreme Court to reinstate Dr Sashi Sharma as the dean, the Tribhuvan University and its Institute of Medicine have conflicting views on who will lead the organisation.
Until Dr Sharma’s reinstatement, Dr Jagdish Agrawal was the IoM dean. In the final verdict on January 7, the SC said there was no evidence to prove the appointment of incumbent Dr Agrawal as illegal. But it directed the authorities to reinstate Dr Sharma, “if he wishes to”, as the dean before his four-year term expired on January 11.
However, the SC order is silent on the fate of Dr Agrawal when Dr Sharma is reinstated. There have been multiple interpretations of the ruling. Dr Agrawal, after Dr Sharma’s term expired, has already taken over as the dean. “There were two deans for four days. Since the term of one dean has expired, I’m continuing my work as the dean,” said Dr Agrawal.
When a government team signed an agreement with the agitating Dr Govinda KC on January 12, the court’s ruling was interpreted as being in favour of Dr Agrawal’s continuation. TU officials, however, maintain that the issue needs a thorough legal consultation.
“No law allows for two deans at the IoM. The court’s decision cannot be interpreted to suit the interest of individuals,” said Dilli Upreti, the TU registrar. “We’ll soon hold a legal consultation on the matter.”
TU sources said Vice-chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya had been looking for a way to oust Dr Agrawal given his aggressive measures to regulate medical colleges affiliated to the TU. “The SC ruling would be a right time to give marching orders to Dr Agrawal so that a new dean, who would serve the interests of private medical colleges, could be appointed,” said a source.
The TU has often been charged with exercising undue power over the IoM either to increase the medical college seats or stop regulating fees charged by colleges to MBBS students.
“Time and again, the TU has taken decisions to weaken the IoM. The government has already agreed to allow Dr Agrawal to work as the dean. TU officials will face consequences if they try to alter the decision,” said Dr Govinda KC, who has staged multiple hunger strikes demanding reforms in medical education.
The Kathmandu Post