AIIMS plans to cap research period for scholars in new recruitment rules

The proposed rules curtail the number of years one can be employed within the premier institute with a motive to discourage people from seeking regular appointments after a fixed period.
AIIMS Delhi
AIIMS Delhi

NEW DELHI:  The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has proposed fresh guidelines on the recruitment of researchers after instructions from the health ministry. The guidelines are apparently framed to duck the court-mandated practice of regularization of staff employed in research projects.

The proposed rules curtail the number of years one can be employed within the premier institute with a motive to discourage people from seeking regular appointments after a fixed period, which is 15 years as ordered by the Delhi High Court.

The new guidelines have been forwarded for the ministry’s approval, sources said. The 2002 HC judgment said researchers involved in various projects for 15 years with the institute will become eligible for regularization at AIIMS. To find a way around it, AIIMS has now limited the recruitment period to six years if a project is completed and an extension of nine years if a project was underway.

“In no condition, a researcher will be allowed to continue beyond it,” said a senior official. “Besides, age relaxation, allowed to incumbent researchers, if they take further projects, has been proposed to be dropped,” the official said. Other officials stated that AIIMS had received a guideline draft from ICMR, which allowed the researchers to remain employed only till five years. It also limited the number of projects a researcher can take up.

Till the time new rules kick in, the institute has also stalled new recruitments in research projects. “The guidelines for recruitment/ selection of project staff are under review. So, the recruitment/ selection process of research project staff is put on hold or till further notice from the research section,” read an AIIMS memorandum.

The development has sparked outrage among the research staff who protested the proposed rules on Wednesday. “If a person is able to continue research for 15 years on a contractual basis, it shows the capability of the candidate which the institute can’t ignore,” said an agitating research staff member.

“It is unprecedented and unjust to prohibit any candidate from applying to a post they are eligible for,” stated the Society of Young Scientists. No official response was received about a meeting that took place between the agitating staff and the AIIMS director to clear the matter.

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