New Delhi: With the Union Cabinet clearing the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the way has been paved for an elected apex medical regulator.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) is currently being run by a seven-member Board of Governors headed by its chairman and nominated by the government. Its term expires on May 13 this year, before which it has to have an elected body.
The elected MCI body was disbanded by the government and a Board of Governors was installed to run the apex body that controls medical colleges in the country after its the then chairman Ketan Desai was arrested by the CBI over charges of corruption.
The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which will be tabled in Parliament during Budget Session, seeks to give government powers to remove the President or other office-bearers of MCI if found indulging in corrupt practices or serious offences of "moral turpitude".
Once passed, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, seeks to bring about such necessary changes requiring the government to act in case of serious charges against MCI office-bearers.
The changes in the new law governing the apex medical regulator, proposed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, include fixing tenure of the President of the elected-body of MCI to a maximum period of four years for two continuous terms.
Earlier, the President could have a five-year tenure and there was no limit on the total number of terms.
The changes have been necessitated as the government had no control over the elected body under the present law governing it.
The new Bill also makes mandatory renewal of enrolment of doctors every 10 years in the registers maintained by the body or state councils.
The proposed Bill, which was passed by the Cabinet on Thursday, is likely to be introduced in the Budget Session of Parliament, paving the way for reconstitution of the medical regulator`s board of governors.
The National Commission for Human Resources for Health (NCHRH) Bill, which proposed to set up the NCHRH as an over- arching body to subsume the MCI, Nursing Council and Dental Council, was rejected by the Parliamentary Standing Committee after it was introduced in Rajya Sabha. The Committee has asked the Health Ministry to come up with a new Bill instead.