Delay in nominating members to newly elected MMC mars speedy disposal of medical negligence cases

04 February, 2017

The fate of around 774 cases of medical negligence hangs in balance as the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC) officials pinpoint that these cases remain unheard till date. This is further accentuated with delay in nominating 9 members by the state government to the 18 member quasi-judicial body that governs the practice of allopathic doctors in the state.

The state government has been delaying in notifying 9 members to the 18 member MMC after the election results on December 24, 2016 in which all 9 Indian Medical Association (IMA) members got elected with a huge margin. This was however following a series of upheavals to restore MMC back through a democratic process after a 7- month ordeal which also led to a PIL being filed by IMA and MMC members in the Bombay High Court (HC). 
Besides the rumblings in MMC over certain administrative lapses, MMC which completed its 5-year term on May 21, 2016 had to also wait for notification of elections from the state government for 7 months and was run on an ad hoc basis by an ayurvedic doctor in violation of the MMC Act.

IMA and MMC had petitioned to the HC about putting in place a full time administrator/registrar and also notification of MMC elections by the state government in the same petition.

As per the MMC Act, council members getting elected through a democratic process paves the way for appointment of a full time registrar with prior consultation and approval of the state government.

Elections to the MMC were held on December 18 across 36 districts of the state at various medical colleges. 

The IMA candidates were elected by a huge margin. Dr Sanjay Kadam had the highest victory margin with 9,314 votes. Of the 85,000 voters, the turnout this year was 24 per cent. Other candidates who have been elected are Dr Mangesh Gulwade, Dr Anil Laddhad, Dr Jayesh Lele, Dr Shivkumar Utture, Dr Ashok Tambe, Dr Archana Pate, Dr Dilip Sarga, and Dr Nisarahmed Shaikh. Across India, IMA has 2.7 lakh doctors in 686 districts and 1,765 local branches.

All nine members elected in the recent polls to the MMC are from the IMA. The counting of votes was completed on December 24, 2016. The IMA, which has over 40,000 doctors from across Maharashtra as members, defeated other doctor panels that had emerged this year for the first time to contest for MMC election. In 2010, when the previous elections were held, the IMA was the only panel to nominate members.

The MMC is the state branch of the Medical Council of India (MCI) that regulates ethical practices of allopathic doctors. Any doctor who wishes 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.