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State Administrative Tribunal directs Kerala govt to allow Dr N Vimala continue as SLA for Ayush

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Monday, February 12, 2018, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in Kerala has directed the state government to allow Prof Dr N Vimala, deputy drugs controller at the Department of Drugs Control (ISM charge) to continue as the State Licensing Authority for Ayush till a new officer is appointed by complying with selection norms as framed by the government.

On May 12, 2017, following a tussle between the state government and Dr. Vimala, who was continuing as SLA for Ayush for the last ten years, the government removed her from the post and the charge was given to the state drugs controller. Later, on September 29, through a special order issued by the government, the department of health appointed senior drugs inspector, Smart P John as the new SLA.

The administrative tribunal had also given a direction to the government to frame special rules for promoting departmental staff to the cadre post of drugs controller (DC) and SLA. The appointment of Smart John was against this order of the court.

Against this interim appointment, Dr Vimala approached the High Court arguing that a case filed by her is pending with the SAT, so, the interim order of the government should be nullified.  The HC asked the government for more explanations, following it, the health secretary withdrew his order appointing Smart John, as SLA for Ayush.

Meanwhile, the health department conducted an interview for appointing new SLA, in which Dr Vimala was also a candidate. Since no judgment had come out from the court till then, the government was unable to appoint a person to the post of licensing authority. The vacuum is continuing today.

Since, Dr Vimala has been continuing in the capacity of deputy drugs controller, she again approached the state administrative tribunal for relief. On January 16 this year, the SAT issued an order in her case, which directed the government to allow her to continue as the state licensing authority till fresh appointment is made on the basis of new rules. As per the order, government has to frame new guidelines for appointment of SLA and DC for Ayush department, and such norms should be notified in the official gazette.

When contacted, Dr. Vimala said the government has not taken any positive step in her favour following the court order (SAT) although 28 days have passed. She said the worst affected by the situation is the industry.

Against the apathy of the state government, the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organization of India (AMMOI) met the chief minister and apprised him of the industry situation. According to Dr. D Ramanathan, general secretary of AMMOI, the manufacturers are not getting licences or certificates from the department for the last one year due to the absence of licensing authority. He said several of the manufacturers have decided to approach neighboring state governments for licences because the industry has to survive.


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