Healthcare in Karnataka has been under constant criticism and the government has been repeatedly pulled up for violations in the maintenance of its health department.
The Karnataka government’s health ministry does not seem to be learning from its past mistakes, as now it has been accused of overlooking the Supreme Court guidelines in the appointment of candidates for competitive posts and also have overruled its own government order while appointing associate professors in the government dental college.
According to sources in the Lokayukta, a complaint was registered in August against government dental college dean Dr Prithiviraj for the alleged wrongful appointment of Dr Shivakumar B as Associate Professor to the newly formed forensic odontology department.
"According to the guidelines put forth by the SC, HC and also the Karnataka government, the single competitive post should be filled only based on merit, and fair competition and not through reservation. But these conditions have been violated by the dean," said Chandan Gowda, a social activist.
The complaint further stated that Dr B Shivakumar was appointed as Associate Professor on a reservation basis. "The candidate has earlier petitioned the high court regarding illegality in the institution and surprisingly had withdrawn the case immediately after his appointment. This act of case withdrawal has raised doubts, and both Dr Sivakumar and also dean owes us an explanation," Gowda said.
Dr Shivakumar was not available for comments. However, Dean Dr Prithviraj who will be retiring at the end of this year, says this allegation is baseless: "The candidates who have not been selected are making these baseless allegations. I have gone by rules and appointed him. There is no single post reservation and it is a group appointment. If the person has any problem let him approach the court."
But senior advocates of HC and also a former advocate general of HC says if there is a single post in government, the appointment should be made by merit and not a reservation. Senior supreme court advocate and former additional advocate general of Karnataka, Sajan Poovayya said, in case of a single post in government, the selection of candidates must be based on merit and not on the reservation. The aggrieved party can approach Karnataka Administrative Tribunal.
The Dean has allegedly overruled the GO (Asianet Newsable is in possession of this document) and called for selection on a reservation basis. The notification issued by health and family welfare department on 27/5/2016 states that no person shall be appointed to the single competitive post in government sector based on reservation. Here too, the DCI regulation was ignored just to appoint the candidate.
According to documents, the selected candidate has not taught students the subject of forensic odontology till his appointment in the newly formed department and he only holds experience of conservative dentistry.
Under conservative dentistry, teeth health, root canal, is studied whereas under the forensic odontology, even a charred dead body will be investigated through which a person’s identity can be ascertained. This forensic odontology is also helpful in solving legal and administrative cases.
To get promotion as an associate professor, the candidate should possess four years teaching experience and 20 points in his scientific research works, however, Dr Shivakumar is said have not got this prerequisite 20 points of scientific research work as well and in addition to that, he does not possess the required qualification as prescribed by the dean himself through notification.
"The candidate has a certificate from the International Forensic Sciences an online education medium for only skill development. The IFS itself has declared that it is not a degree-awarding institute, college or university under any University Grants Commission Act. But the candidate is said to have attached this IFS certificate to get a job," alleged Gowda.
Because of this illegal appointment, the country's first person who got the doctorate on the topic of forensic odontology under Oral Medicine and Radiology has been sidelined.
The matter has now been referred to the Lokayukta and is under investigation. According to Lokayukta sources, Dean Prithviraj, Associate Professor Shivakumar will be served notices by Lokayukta to depose before them.