Indian Medical Council Ordinance, 2018
The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 was issued recently, dissolving the Medical Council of India (MCI).
What is the ordinance for?
- It amends the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 which set up the MCI that regulates medical education and practice.
- The Ordinance provides for the supersession of the MCI for a period of one year.
- In the interim period, the central government will constitute a 7-member Board of Governors (BoG).
- The powers of the Council have been vested in the BoG led by NITI Aayog Member Dr. V.K. Paul.
- The BoG will continue to perform till an alternative comes into place as per the legal provisions in one-year time.
How did it evolve?
- Parliamentary Committee – There were some serious concerns with the functioning of the MCI.
- A 2016 Parliamentary Standing committee report noted that mere incremental alterations to MCI would not give the expected results.
- Supreme Court – In May 2016, the Supreme Court had set up a three-member oversight committee.
- With one year tenure, the committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, was to guide the MCI in its functioning.
- The Lodha oversight committee, at the end of its term, submitted a report.
- It detailed how the MCI openly defied the oversight committee’s directives.
- Despite this, the Centre, instead of scrapping the MCI, in July 2017, proposed setting up a new oversight committee to the SC.
- In July 2018, this oversight committee members resigned, citing noncompliance of their instructions by the MCI.
- Bill – The government introduced the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017, in the Lok Sabha, in December 2017.
- This Bill, to replace the MCI with a National Medical Commission, is pending in Parliament.
- Given all these, the government is now forced to issue the ordinance.
- The BoG is likely to make the much-required reforms in the field of medical education and promote access to quality healthcare.
- The government must now move urgently on bringing the NMC Bill.
- There are some concerns with the Bill in its current form despite amendments to accommodate some of them
- It is essential that the government address these concerns.