Against the backdrop of state government’s indifferent and delayed response on notifying MMC elections based on a PIL filed by Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), the Bombay High Court has now taken the onus of monitoring the matter and has directed the state government to prepare the electoral roll of registered medical practitioners within a week as a step towards conducting elections.
Presently there is a list of 83,000 medical practitioners across the state available with the state government which is respondent in the case.
MMC, the quasi-judicial autonomous body, has been looking into cases of medical negligence for the past several years excluding the term between 1998 and 2010 when it remained defunct following an HC order. MMC had remained defunct from 1998 to 2010 following a Bombay High Court order that suspended it due to irregularities in the election of members and maintenance of register which led to the backlog of over 600 cases.
As per the HC order issued by coram of Judges B P Colabawalla and S C Dharmadhikari, the state government appointed returning officer would not be allowed to prepare the electoral roll. Registrar of the council will prepare the roll and if he is not in place then anybody who is currently in-charge of the affairs and day to day matters will undertake the exercise in terms of Rule 5 and as per our direction.
The court has further directed to list the matter for hearing on 21 September, 2016 by which date it is expected from the authority concerned under Rule 5 to act in terms of the rules and court’s direction.
HC had called the respondent in the case- the state medical education department-- on September 7, 2016 for hearing and to suitably reply on the delay of notifying MMC elections following state government’s abrupt decision to dissolve the MMC.
According to officials, the state government deliberately delayed in giving directive to hold MMC elections despite being given three reminders before the expiry of the 5-year Council's tenure on May 21, 2016.
MMC and IMA had petitioned a month ago to the HC about putting in place a full time administrator and also notification of MMC elections by the state government in the same petition when it completed its 5-year term on May 21, 2016.
Besides the rumblings in the MMC currently, the present council elected five years back had fought a two-year court battle with the state government to finally assume office in 2011.
The state government and the MMC have also been at loggerheads for several years with state government recently also serving a notice for certain irregularities in the council’s administration.