So, in the following lines, there is a bit of dwelling on the MCI, its activities, why it has been dissolved and who will now function on its behalf and what fate awaits its erstwhile chief.
76 years ago, by an act of Parliament, the MCI was formed as an all powerful body to regulate medical education in India and was the sole body which granted recognition to medical degrees, issued accreditation to medical colleges, registered independent medical practitioners & monitored their practice in the country. But now, due to allegations of rampant corruption, it was dissolved on Saturday (15/05/2010) by President Pratibha Patil and was notified by the Law Ministry.
Before the ordinance to dissolve the body was signed by the President, it was discussed by the Union Cabinet on Thursday (13/05/2010) and was sent to the Law Ministry for consultation. After ratification by the law ministry, it was then sent to the President for her signature. Once the president signed it ,the body got dissolved and is now replaced by a six member panel of eminent doctors to carry its duties.
This committee will actively run the MCI including issuing licences and permission, conducting inspections & regulating medical education, for a period of one year. The committee will also suggest ways to reform MCI and will help in preparing bills which they plan to introduce in the monsoon session of the Parliament. The bill will regulate medical professionals and be in line with the original mandate of the MCI. To regulate medical education in the country, formation of an overreaching body will also take place. In this regard, a new law would be brought in by the Health Ministry and it would be formulated within a month of the draft law.
It is to be recalled here that an earlier effort by the Ministry to amend the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956, giving more powers to the Ministry, was turned down by the Parliament standing committee on health. At that time, the argument given against it was that the move would destroy the council's autonomy. It is also to be noted here that there was no law empowering the Health Ministry to take action against the MCI as it was created by an act of Parliament.
This ordinance to dissolve the MCI came into being because of allegations of corruption against the MCI was rampant since the past few years, and a few weeks ago, it came into centrestage with the arrest (on April 22) of MCI Chief Ketan Desai by CBI for allegedly taking bribe of Rs 2 crore. The said bribe was to recognise a medical college in Punjab (Patiala), despite the fact that it did not meet the MCI standards. CBI has registered a disproportionate asset case against him and has initiated an investigation against him under this case.
The tainted MCI Chief who is in judicial custody since his arrest was grilled by Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in their office on Friday (21/05/10) on allegations of money laundering. As per the news reports, Desai and his family allegedly owned 24 crores rupees, beyond their known source of income. ED has separately initiated a probe against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and may move to seal his property which is acquired beyond his known source of income.
We shall wait and see whether the crores of Ketan Desai which he amassed through dubious means will come for his rescue or not ..