New Delhi: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking permission to appoint Dr D.N. Bhardwaj as the head of the department (HoD) of forensic sciences.

The incumbent head of the department is Dr. Sudhir Gupta.

The move follows the court order on 25 March which said if Dr. Gupta’s removal is contemplated, AIIMS would have to approach the court.

A bench of justices G.S. Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Seghal said the stay order on the removal of Dr. Gupta will continue to be in force and ordered all the parties to file their replies before the next hearing.

Bhardwaj, the court noted, is the senior most in the department. He had resigned in 2013 from the post for medical reasons, AIIMS counsel told the court.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has sought the court’s intervention claiming that Gupta’s removal will have widespread implications. Swamy was referring to the ongoing murder investigation of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. Gupta had alleged that he was being discriminated against because he refused to act unprofessionally in the autopsy of Pushkar.

The court advised Swamy to file an application before the next hearing.

The counsel representing AIIMS, however, objected to the possibility of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) being filed and said a PIL cannot be entertained in a service matter and that the appointment of Bhardwaj was purely a service matter.

The court will hear the matter next on 23 July after all parties have filed their replies.

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