The Indian Medical Association (IMA), in an emergency session in Mumbai, insisted that the Medical Council of India (MCI) election process should be permitted to continue.
The IMA action committee noted that “this action of the Government, at a juncture when the election to the MCI has been announced, is unwarranted and malafide.”
“IMA is convinced that supersession of MCI is only a smoke screen and is a ploy to prepare the ground for NMC and sabotage the democratic process of MCI,” a statement said.
A Bill to replace the MCI with the National Medical Commission (NMC) is pending in Parliament. The bill faced stiff resistance from the Indian Medical Association (IMA), medical practitioners and students
On 26 September, the government promulgated an ordinance dissolving the MCI and the powers of the council were vested in a seven-member board of governors (BoG) led by NITI Aayog member Dr. V.K. Paul, without waiting for Parliament’s nod to the NMC Bill.
“The ordinance was cleared by the Union cabinet this morning and the President has now given his assent. Since the term of the elected body of the MCI is ending shortly, a need was felt to run it by a committee to run its affairs. Now, the government has appointed the BoG in supersession of MCI,” Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said. “All members of the committee will be professionals of great eminence,” he said.
The IMA said that the composition of the Board itself was unacceptable. “Directors of major institutions would scarcely find time to administer more than 450 medical colleges and their undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Moreover, there is no representation to women and registered medical practitioners”
It also demanded that the BoG should refrain from taking any major policy decisions or amendments changing the character of the IMC Act.
The IMA said, “Crosspathy, registration of non-medical persons, bridge courses and mixing of syllabi are core concerns. 184 private medical colleges are awaiting recognition due to the strict norms of the outgoing MCI team. By removing the democratically elected MCI checks and balances have been removed and chances of arbitrary actions have increased. A generation of substandard doctors will be the legacy of this action.’’