Sources at the hospital claimed selection norms were tweaked to deny acting dean Suleman Merchant the post.
“A clause that says candidates must have 32 years work experience after becoming an associate professor has been introduced. This is practically impossible, as people become associates at around 30 and 32 years experience after that would mean one has to be above 60, which is beyond retirement age,” a source said.
This eligibility criterion, the source claimed, was against Medical Council of India guidelines, which mandate only 10 years experience after becoming an associate professor.
Meanwhile, a Nagpada NGO has written to the state minorities commission and the health ministry claiming Merchant was being “victimised” and “harassed”.
The minorities commission has, in turn, written protest letters to health minister Suresh Shetty and the BMC commissioner.
“It is not a good sign that someone who knows problems of people and who has spent his entire professional life at the same hospital should get sidelined just because he hails from the minority community,” chairman Munaf Hakeem said.
Merchant, however, does not want to believe this is an issue of religion.
“As far as seniority goes, I have the credentials as I have been head of my department and dean of the hospital for a year. There is definitely discrepancy in this new shortlisting criteria. Patients will end up getting affected, which should not happen at any cost,” he said.
Additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar said BMC was not directly involved in the selection. “We only give the requisition to Maharashtra Public Services Commission.”
This is not the first time the appointment of dean at a civic hospital has been questioned. A few weeks ago, corporators had challenged the appointment of former dean of Sion Hospital Sandhya Kamat as dean of KEM Hospital, forcing Mhaiskar to clarify the arrangement was temporary.
Merchant has been acting dean of Sion Hospital since September 2012. The hospital has been without a permanent dean after Sandhya Kamath was transferred.