Home/ News / India/  Bill to supersede Medical Council tabled in Lok Sabha

The government on Tuesday introduced Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Lok Sabha that seeks to supersede the Medical Council of India (MCI) for a period of two years with effect from 26 September, 2018, during which the board of governors will run it.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan introduced the Bill for replacing an Ordinance promulgated on 21 February, 2019. “A perception has set in in the last two decades that the MCI has been unsuccessful in discharging its duties and corrupt practices are prevalent in the regulatory body. The IMC Bill is the need of the hour," said Harsh Vardhan while introducing the Bill.

“The government also proposes to bring the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill in the near future after securing cabinet clearance. Even though the National Medical Commission Bill could be introduced in the near future, still, every Ordinance has to be converted into a law to have a legal continuity," Harsh Vardhan said.

The Cabinet on 12 June had approved the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Bill aims at ensuring transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country. It also proposes to increase the number of members in the board of governors to 12 from the existing 7.

In wake of allegations of corruption against MCI office-bearers and investigations into opaque accreditation to several medical colleges, the Supreme Court in May 2016 had directed the government to constitute an oversight committee. The apex court had said that the committee would have the authority to oversee all statutory functions of the MCI till the new legislation comes in. In 2017, another oversight committee was set up with the approval of the Supreme Court after the end of the one-year term of the first panel.

In July 2018, the committee resigned citing instances of “non-compliance of their instructions by the MCI". Thereafter, the government in September issued an ordinance--Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018--to supersede the MCI. With the ordinance coming into force, the powers of the council were vested in a board of governors. The powers of the MCI were also switched from the elective council body to the board.

Subsequently, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 14 December, 2018, and was passed by the House on December 31. However, the Bill could not be taken up for consideration in the Rajya Sabha.

Accordingly, it was decided to promulgate a fresh Ordinance, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, to allow the board of governors appointed in view of supersession of the MCI to continue to exercise powers of the MCI.

The related National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2017 that seeks to replace the MCI with a National Medical Commission and overhaul the medical education system in India is pending in Parliament. The government has been pushing the NMC Bill amid resistance from the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and other sections.

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Updated: 02 Jul 2019, 08:27 PM IST
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