The Government now proposes to empower itself to remove the President or other office-bearers of Medical Council of India if found indulging in serious offences of “moral turpitude”, as reported in the Indian Express. To this effect, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is considering changes in the law governing the MCI through the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
The changes suggested by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare include restricting the tenure of the President of the elected-body of MCI to a maximum period of four years for two continuous terms instead of 5 years and an unlimited number of terms as was earlier. These changes are called for as the government has no control over the elected body under the present law governing it.
The MCI had been dissolved by the Govt. and a Board of Governors was appointed to run the apex body. The current Board of Governors is in its second term, which will end in May 2013, after which a new board of governors would need to be appointed.
The new bill also proposes to make mandatory renewal of enrollment of doctors every 10 years in the registers maintained by the body or state councils.
The proposed Bill, under review of the Ministry of Law & Justice, will go to the Union Cabinet for its approval before it is passed in Parliament. Once it becomes an Act, doctors enrolled with Indian Medical Register or the State Medical Register for 10 years will have to apply for renewal within a year.
The grounds for removal of the office-bearers include being declared insolvent, being physically and mentally incapable, being declared by a court of having an ‘unsound’ mind or conviction in an offence which, according to the central government, comes under “moral turpitude”. Financial or other interests, that could prejudice function, will also lead to removal.
If the Govt. thinks that the president, the vice-president or an office-bearer of the MCI have abused their position and which renders their continuance in office “detrimental to overall public interest”, he/she can be removed from office. The bill also proposes removal on the grounds of being found guilty of “proved misbehavior”. However, the person would be given “reasonable opportunity” of being heard in the matter before being removed from office.
Issues: Why we must unite and oppose many of the amendments
1. Why only four years and two terms? Whys not this clause for member of parliaments, chief ministers and prime ministers?
2. Why re-registration every ten years. Why all this against allopathic profession. Re-registration will mean compulsory CME and that would mean start of paid costly CME’s in long run like inUnited States. Why other medical profession pathies are spared?
3. Medical profession is already included under CPA.
4. On one hand we say doctors should not advertise, commercialize, indulge in marketing but they will be under CPA. Why double edged sword against doctors.
5. Govt. is coming with BSc community health courses as parallel to allopathic system. They could have strengthened MBBS courses or start MD courses in every rural district or they could have started compulsory two years MD rural health after MBBS in a rural area.
6. Why Govt. has not declared Dr B C Roy National awards for the past many years after 2008.
7. Why the powers of removal of the president with the government?. Can the President of India remove the Prime Minister. Its the court or the parliament which decides the course of action. Such powers with the government will make MCI elected body ineffective. In democracy its the elected body who elects the president or the vice president. They only have powers to remove them. Removal of office should be the jurisdiction of the Courts and not the government. If such clause is not removed the office bearers will never work under freedom but will always be under the pressure of the government.