New Delhi: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Wednesday alleged that the central government violated "minimum democratic norms" and bypassed the rights of the state governments by dissolving the Medical Council of India (MCI) through an ordinance.
The CPI-M asked the central government to "immediately call a meeting of the Central Council of Health and Family Welfare and ensure that the rights of the states are not bypassed".
State governments had their representatives in the dissolved Medical Council, it said.
"Since health is a state subject and medical education is on the concurrent list, it was mandatory for the central government to have consulted state governments by calling an emergency meeting of the Central Council," the party politburo said in a statement.
The CPI-M said the seven-member board of governors now appointed through the ordinance consists entirely of centrally-nominated people. "This is a violation of federal principles and is an injustice to the states," it said.
The government should have taken parliament into confidence before dissolving an autonomous body set up by an Act of parliament, the CPI-M said.
President Pratibha Patil Saturday signed an ordinance dissolving the statutory regulatory body and replacing it with a seven-member committee.
The party said the ordinance reflected a policy of overcentralisation of powers in the hands of the central government, which did damage to the federal character of the constitution.
The party, however, welcomed the removal of Ketan Desai from the post of director of MCI, calling it "a much belated and required step".
"The prima facie evidence of corruption at the top levels of MCI required firm government intervention," it said.
The government decided to bring the ordinance after a crisis hit the regulatory body when its president was arrested April 22 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs.2 crore to recognise a medical college in Punjab even though it did not meet MCI standards.
Desai had given his resignation to the Health Ministry last Wednesday.
The MCI, a statutory body tasked to oversee the standards of medical education in India, granted recognition to medical degrees, gave accreditation to medical colleges, registered medical practitioners and monitored medical practice in the country.