Delhi HC seeks Centre’s stance on PIL against appointment in National ART and Surrogacy Board

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Last Updated on August 10, 2023 by

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the appointment of embryologist Dr. Nitiz Murdia as an expert member of the National Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy Board.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Saurabh Banerjee issued notice on the plea and also sought Murdia’s response.

The PIL has been filed by Dr Aniruddha Narayan Malpani, an IVF specialist, who alleges that Murdia’s appointment lacks evidence of the required qualification of at least 15 years as an embryologist, which is a prerequisite for being an expert member of the Board.

“You have to justify. Please file a reply,” the bench said.

Malpani’s concerns stem from an RTI application filed to obtain information about Murdia’s appointment. The reply to the RTI revealed that Murdia holds a Ph.D. in “Embryology, IVF Health, and Business” from California Public University. It has been said that the petitioner’s investigation into this has revealed that the university does not offer any academic credits and all its programmes are via online/distance education mode.

It was further stated that he possesses 17 years of experience as a chief embryologist.

Malpani filed an appeal seeking copies of Murdia’s Embryology degree and appointment letter to comprehend the basis upon which he was designated as an expert member of the Board.

However, no response was received, prompting Malpani to bring the matter before the high court. The plea argues that Murdia has on the basis of false and misleading information obtained the appointment, clearly indicating that he has usurped a public office without possessing the requisite qualifications and training required under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021, the Assisted Reproductive Technologies Act, 2021, and the Rules made thereunder.

The petitioner has said that Murdia was a chemical engineer and there is no evidence of his training in embryology from any recognised university.

–IANS

spr/vd

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