The quasi-judicial body of 85,000 doctors in the state, the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) is all set to be reinstated soon with elections conducted successfully on December 18, 2016. Counting will be done on December 23 following which the newly formed council will be notified with a formal announcement by the state government.
Around 20,000 members took part in the voting for the council which had come to a standstill after the state government dissolved it citing faulty functioning. The government had also appointed an administrator in a unilateral manner without a due process of election which had upset a majority of MMC members who were looking for a revival of the MMC through a democratic process.
Nine members will be elected to the council which essentially comprises 18 members, out of which five will be appointed by the government.
With MMC now looking for a revival post elections, the notification on elections later this year had come as a welcome surprise for MMC in view of the fact that its administration was not running effectively with present Council's five-year tenure getting over on May 21, 2016.
The state council also remained defunct from 1998 to 2010 following a Bombay High Court (HC) order.
The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 stipulates an executive committee appointed by the MMC to meet once in two months to take a decision and subsequent action against any medical practitioner found guilty in medical negligence cases in the state. In order to fast-track these cases, the state council had also created three ethical committees that heard cases and presented its report to the executive committee to take the final decision.
Until now, uncertainty also loomed large on the fate of around 65,000 doctors who are awaiting renewals of their registrations at the MMC due to administrative lapses.
An online system for effective disposal of registrations was put in place in 2012 for its effective functioning by the Council but was marred when traditional ways of manual processing of registrations and renewals were adopted by the council administrator which was not only time consuming but a tedious job for the doctors located in remote parts of the state.
MMC members were also upset over the state government serving notice to them for irregularities in its administration and over its appointing a registrar without election followed with a consultative process.
What further accentuated the rumblings within the Council was that the state government had also delayed in suitably replying to the Bombay HC based on a petition filed by the Council on matters related to notification of elections and appointment of registrar contrary to what has been stipulated in the MMC Act.
The MMC is the state branch of the Medical Council of India (MCI) that regulates ethical practices of allopathic doctors. Any doctor who wish to start practice has to first register with the MMC for a licence. The MMC can cancel or suspend the licence if the doctor is found indulging in any unethical practice. By taking care of medical cases, it also ensures less burden on courts.