State government says the appointment was well within the purview of the law, promises that elections to medical council will be held at the earliest.
The Indian Medical Association has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "act" on the appointment of an Ayurveda practitioner as the registrar of the Maharashtra Medical Council.
In a letter to Modi on Friday, the association has also asked for elections to the MMC -- state's most important quasi-judicial body of doctors that serves as an ethical watchdog, grants registrations and looks into cases of medical negligence -- be held at the earliest.
Most of the doctors across the state have been riled up after Dilip Wange, an associate professor with RA Podar Ayurveda College and registrar of state's Ayurveda Council, took charge as MMC registrar on Tuesday.
The letter to the PM stated, "MMC and the Medical Council of India are both opposing crosspathy (ayurveda and homoeopathy practitioners prescribing allopathy medicines). There are various cases pending in the court. At this juncture, we are surprised that charge of MMC has been given to a registrar from Maharashtra Council of Indian Medicine (MCIM), a council for ayurveda, siddha and unani practitioners."
The letter further states that the MMC's five-year tenure got over on May 21, 2016 and the government is yet to notify the elections.
Mumbai Mirror on June 23 was the first to report how the medical fraternity got into a tizzy following the appointment of Dr Wange. Doctors feel that his appointment is not only a conflict of interest but also ploy of the BJP-led government to have its "stooges" to control MMC's functioning, on the lines of similar appointments in FTII and NIFT.
Dr Jayesh Lele of IMA said that they are hopeful that the PM will intervene. "We have also approached the court regarding both the issues and in the process of starting a signature campaign to garner support," said Dr Lele.
While the government authorities have claimed that Dr Wange's appointment is temporary, protesting doctors say that it flouts two MMC laws: the first, that a registrar can be appointed only by elected MMC members in agreement with the government, and the second, the registrar cannot hold any additional charge. In Dr Wange's case, the appointment was done by the government unilaterally and he holds additional charge of the registrar at MCIM apart from being an associate professor at an Ayuverda college.
A doctor on the condition of anonymity said the IMA doctors are "trying to misguide us by diversion tactics. These people are constantly using IMA platform to misguide us and for their own benefits".
Before Dr Wange's appointment, the government has initiated an inquiry to investigate decisions by the MMC. "The MMC has recently started giving awards, helping families of doctors who die in accidents and have also shifted their office to a new spacious place. All these initiatives involve large amounts of money and we are inquiring into the same," said an official adding that the inquiry report is still awaited. An MMC member however said that all their decisions have been taken in agreement with the government. "They simply want to find some fault and dissolve MMC to bring in their own administrator and gain control," said the member.
According to Dr Pravin Shingare, head of Directorate of Medical Education and Research, the registrar was appointed within the purview of the law. "We are also in the process of appointing a returning officer for the elections," Dr Shingare said, adding that MMC's previous registrar Ramesh Jhanjal was kept on the post without any government permission.
"Jhanjal had retired and was appointed as a registrar post his retirement. The government authorities had denied permission for his appointment twice but MMC members continued to retain him. This was a clear violation of MMC Act," said Dr Shingare.