Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has asked the
Medical Council of India (MCI) to file a reply to a petition
filed by Peoples Health Organisation (PHO) seeking a direction
to double the number of seats for post graduate medical
courses, improve infrastructure in hospitals and fill up
vacancies of teachers.
MCI had yesterday sought time to file a reply following
which a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah allowed the
respondent to file an affidavit by March 24.
The Court also asked the state government to inform on
March 24 its action plan to improve the infrastructure in
hospitals and fill up vacancies of teachers.
Arguing in person, Dr I S Gilada, Secretary of PHO, urged
that the admission process for post graduate medical courses
for this year had already commenced and hence the PIL should
be heard expeditiously and the matter be kept high on board on
the next date of hearing.
Besides MCI, the other respondents are Maharashtra
Government and the Centre.
Highlighting the shortage of medical post graduate seats
due to alleged gross negligence of the union and state
governments, the PIL alleged that failure to improve hospital
infrastructure and fill up vacancies of teachers had fuelled
the crisis further.
There have been cases of suicides committed by young and
frustrated doctors who failed to secure admission in post
graduate courses, the PIL said.
The PIL alleged that the "haphazard" policy of the
Government and "retrograde" stand of the MCI had resulted in
shortage of post graduate seats since 2001.
Alleging that the MCI had become "a den of corruption",
the PIL stated that its President had been arrested by CBI for
PHO argued that before 2001, the teacher-student ratio
was 1:2, which meant that for every teacher two seats were
allotted for post graduate courses.
This ratio was halved to 1:1 in 2001 and thus the seats
were cut by 50 per cent. The problem was further aggravated as
vacancies of professors were not filled up thereby creating
shortage of staff.
PHO submitted that though the Centre had decided to
increase the teacher-student ratio to the pre-2001 level of
1:2, it was not implemented and the fate of hundreds of
medical doctors aspiring for post graduate medical courses was
kept in limbo by the MCI which later modified this ratio for
professors only and not for assistant professors and
PHO demanded that the retirement age of teachers should
be increased to 65 years to meet the shortage of staff. It
also prayed that the teacher-student ratio should be increased
to 1:2 for all teachers and not just professors alone and the
age-old honorary system of medical teachers be restored to its
full-fledged status as before.