Maharashtra government dissolves medical council, members learn from newspaper

31 August, 2016

Post the state medical education department dissolved the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), after irregularities were found in their five-year tenure, existing elected members have decided to oppose this move.

According to sources, the members have yet not received any notice from the education department, whereas, the members have decided to approach the court once notices are served to them. The Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra) has also taken a stand against the government's move.

The MMC, a quasi-judicial body, investigates cases of medical negligence and takes action on doctors if they have violated the ethics. The 18-member council elects nine registered doctors from the state to come on board. Around 76,000 doctors were registered at the time of election five years ago.

The MMC, in dealing with cases of medical negligence, plays a vital role as the police do not take immediate cognisance in such cases (they have to wait for committee reports by doctors at government hospitals, which can take over a year). Hence, patients and relatives often quit the fight because of the long wait.

Recently, the state medical education department appointed Dr Abhay Chowdhary as administrator of the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC). "According to the MMC Act, the government cannot appoint an administrator like this, instead, it is supposed to announce elections. We have written to the government to start the process as early as possible. I don't know what the government wants to achieve with this appointment," said Dr Shivkumar Utture, executive committee member of council.

Out of the 700 cases registered with the MMC in the last five years, 500 of them have been attended to and cleared. The MMC cracks down on cases of violation of the pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, the unethical practice of doctors advertising themselves, and pathologists allowing diagnostic labs to use their signatures on reports without them being physically present.

On the condition of anonymity, one of the senior officials from the medical education department, said, "We are dissolving the body because we found some irregularities, and, soon we going to announce the election. Also, we already have sent the notice to the council."

"We have already approached the court in two different issues regarding MMC against the government, and now I learn from the newspaper that the government has dissolved the MMC. If this is true, we definitely will add this point in our petition which is pending in the high court,"said Dr Jayesh Lele, president, IMA (Maharashtra).