The Lok Sabha has recently passed the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill provides for supersession of Medical Council of India (MCI) for a period of two years with effect from September 26, 2018. It will replace an Ordinance promulgated on February 21, 2019. The Bill also proposes to increase the number of members in the Board of Governors (BoG) to 12 from the existing 7.
During the debate on the Bill, Union health minister Dr Harshvardhan said that the Board of Governors (BoG) which had replaced the MCI has worked well and taken a series of steps to improve medical education in the country. The BoG has granted accreditation to more number of medical colleges, increased number of seats and reduced procedural hurdles, he said, adding it is manned by doctors of great repute.
The issue dates back to some years when the Union health ministry came across certain arbitrary action by MCI in disregard to the provisions of the IMC Act, 1956 and regulations made thereunder. Further, the Oversight Committee constituted by the Supreme Court to oversee the functioning of MCI had also cited instances of non-compliance of their instructions and subsequently, all members of the Oversight Committee tendered their resignation.
In view of these developments, and to put an alternative mechanism in place of MCI so as to bring transparency, accountability and quality in the governance of medical education in the country, it was decided to supersede the MCI through the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 promulgated on 26.09.2018 and entrust its affairs to a BoG consisting of eminent doctors. The BoG was constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. V.K. Paul, Member NITI Aayog and comprising six other members.
Subsequently, a replacement Bill of the said Ordinance namely, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the 14th December, 2018 and passed on 31st December, 2018 by the Lower House. However, despite all efforts, during the winter session 2018 of Parliament the Bill could not be taken up for consideration and passing in the Rajya Sabha and the House has been adjourned sine die on 9th January, 2019.
Accordingly, it was decided to promulgate a fresh Ordinance namely the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 to allow the BoG appointed in supersession of MCI to continue to exercise the powers of MCI and that of Central Government so that the work already done by the Board of Governors as per the provisions of earlier Ordinance is validated and may continue.
The replacement Bill of the Ordinance i.e. the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 as passed by the Lok Sabha could not be taken up for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session – 2019 of the Parliament, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated on 21.02.2019.
The replacement Bill i.e. the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2018 pending in the Parliament has lapsed on dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. Accordingly, the Cabinet has approved the proposal to bring forward a fresh Bill i.e. the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the ongoing session of the Parliament to replace the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2019 through an Act of Parliament.