Agitating medicos of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) called off their strike Thursday afternoon even as Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said he had returned their degree certificates to the institute director for corrections.
"I have returned the degrees to the director, AIIMS for rectifying the mistakes at the earliest so that the degrees to the students who require such degrees urgently can be issued immediately," Ramadoss informed the Lok Sabha.
"These degrees were signed among others by one Dr. Sandeep Aggarwal as registrar of the institute. As per the AIIMS regulations, the appointing authority for registrar is the governing body. Shri V.P. Gupta was appointed by the competent authority as registrar in 2002 and he has been functioning since then as registrar AIIMS.
"The degrees were forwarded by one Dr. Sandeep Aggarwal who is not registrar AIIMS appointed by the governing body," the minister said.
Earlier this year Gupta was sacked by Venugopal, who appointed Aggarwal to the post without the consent of Ramadoss, who is also the president of the institute.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court Thursday asked the central government to file a reply on the resident doctors' strike - protesting against not getting their post graduate degrees - and its effect on the thousands of patients who visit the hospital.
"Respecting the judiciary we have called off our strike. We hope the court will listen to our grievance as well," Nitin Kukkar, a protesting doctor said.
The resident doctors said they had been told by the hospital faculty that they would get their postgraduate certificates soon.
Resident Doctors Association president Kumar Harsh said: "The hospital faculty held a meeting today at which they decided to print new certificates. They will be signed only by the director and the dean.
"The faculty told us we will get our certificates within a day or two," Harsh told reporters. He said the faculty has appealed to striking doctors to re-join work as soon as possible.
The direction from the court came after senior advocate Ashok Aggarwal informed Chief Justice M.K. Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna about the suffering of patients at AIIMS.
"I did not file any formal application in court but showed a newspaper report on the strike to Chief Justice M.K. Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna. Additional Solicitor General V.K. Tandon was present during the time and the court asked him to tell the central government to intervene in the matter and file a reply," Aggarwal told IANS.
"Justice Sharma said if nothing improves then the court will intervene in the matter," he said.
The court asked the central government to file a reply within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Ramadoss said: "Any degree signed by an unauthorised person will render the degree illegal and invalid. It is unfortunate that the resident doctors resorted to strike without appreciating my concern for their future.
"I have instructed the director AIIMS to take necessary steps to ensure the strike is called off and the patient care services in the institute is restored immediately," the minister added.
The doctors were on protest since Tuesday evening, badly affecting services at the out patients department (OPD), which is visited by around 6,000 people every day.
On Wednesday, the resident doctors had boycotted the OPD although they attended the ICUs and emergency wards.
The resident doctors were protesting because they had not got their degrees even two years after clearing the exams, making it difficult for them to apply for jobs elsewhere or for further studies.
AIIMS is India's top government hospital and medical college that treats over 8,000 patients every day.
Meanwhile, resident doctors at AIIMS said that they would boycott Ramadoss during their convocation function on Sep 25.
"My utmost sympathy is with the students who are waiting the award of degrees for more than two years, which is primarily due to delay in holding the convocation," Ramadoss said.