People for Better Treatment (PBT), a charitable organization working to establish a better healthcare delivery system in India, has written a memorandum to Health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad pointing out that at least 17 doctors out of the 68 new members nominated or elected to the new Medical Council of India (MCI) were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved in 2010 on ground of rampant corruption.
According to the letter written by PBT president Dr Kunal Saha, in the wake of the serious allegations of pervasive corruption during the era of Dr. Ketan Desai’s former chief of MCI, a new provision (Section 30-A.2g) was added by the legislators in the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 with an aim to prevent anybody from becoming a member of MCI which may destabilize broader interest of the general public. The newly added section states: The central government may remove from office the president, vice-president or any member of the Council who has been found guilty of proved misbehavior or his continuance in office would be detrimental in public interest.
The letter further stated that the presence of these 17 doctors in the next MCI “would undoubtedly undermine public trust on the healthcare regulatory system”. The letter pointed out that “these doctors were part of the previous MCI which was dissolved by your department in 2010 on the ground of wide-spread corruption after then MCI president, Dr. Ketan Desai, was arrested red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for taking bribe from a private medical college”. It added that the criminal case against Dr. Desai and others is still continuing in the CBI court in Delhi and elsewhere while Dr. Desai is out on bail.
“These 17 doctors also include Dr. Rani Bhaskaran (nominated from Kerala) who actually proposed the name of Dr. Desai for MCI president in 2009 when her husband, Dr. PC Kesavankutty Nayar, was acting MCI president during Dr. Desai’s re-election in 2009 and a close ally of Dr. Desai, who paved the way for his return and “unopposed” election win to be MCI president on 1st March, 2009,” pointed out the letter.
“It is also pertinent to mention that Dr. Desai was removed from MCI earlier in 2001 at the direction of the Honourable Delhi High Court with scathing criticism that he had turned MCI into a “den of corruption”. “Ironically, Dr. Desai was never found innocent from the specific charges that Hon’ble Delhi High Court labeled against him although he managed to return to MCI in 2009,” it added.
“The sordid saga involving MCI and Dr. Desai over the past many years has greatly damaged public confidence on the medical regulatory system in India. There is little doubt that nomination/election of the 17 doctors, who previously helped Dr. Desai to regain control of the MCI, to become members for the next MCI would further erode public trust in the future of healthcare delivery system,” stated the letter.
The letter urged the health minister to take appropriate steps for immediate removal of the 17 doctor-members from MCI in accordance to Section 30-A.2g of Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 for greater public interest and for the ends of justice.
source: Times of India