Dr. Jayshree Mehta, president of the Medical Council of India which has been under the scanner for corruption and is currently being monitored by a three-member committee mandated by the Supreme Court, has said that the Council was not ‘given a reasonable opportunity’ to present its side of the story. She said the negative attention on the MCI, following a report by a Parliamentary Standing Committee, was unfair and claimed the report did not reflect reality.
‘Not given time’
“We sought time from the Parliamentary Committee but were not given any time. To that extent, the Medical Council was denied the mandatory opportunity of hearing, which the principles of natural justice guarantee,” Dr. Mehta said, adding that the Parliamentary Standing Committee did not bring out any specific complaints of corruption of any type and magnitude.
On the decision of the NITI Aayog to scrap the MCI and replace it with the National Medical Commission, Dr. Mehta termed it the “remedy more dangerous than the disease.” “The draft Bill on the National Medical Commission, 2016, is plagued by several problems and contradictions,” which would result in “complete loss of democratic character expected of a regulatory body,” she said.
Dr.Mehta said the Supreme Court mandated Lodha panel which is monitoring the functioning was not the first oversight panel for the Council.
Later a four-member ad hoc committee as formed which examined all of the MCI’s decisions between 1996 to 2001. “So, we have been under scrutiny from 1996 – 2001 and then 2002 – 2009 and nothing has been found. While the Lodha Committee does not in any way disrupt the functioning of the Council, the decisions/recommendations given by MCI have remain unimplemented for the substantial period of time,” she said.
Asked why the MCI did not inspect the medical colleges even after being asked to do so by the Lodha panel, Dr Mehta said the panel had wanted the applications for starting new colleges/ increase of seats that had been rejected by MCI be accorded another opportunity of compliance. “We considered all the applications in our Executive Committee meeting and found that all these applicants had already been given the required opportunity to comply.”