National Medical Commission Bill 2017: Will it reduce or increase corruption?


Dr KK Aggarwal    31 December 2017

Dr KK Aggarwal

Immediate Past National President IMA

  • As per section (4) of the Bill, Composition of NMC will have an effective membership of 25 of which only 5 members (Part Time) will be elected. These elected members will not be a part of any board and hence will not have any say or check on any unethical practices. As per section (10) of the Bill, the Commission will have only appellant authority
  • As per section (11) of the Bill Medical advisory council shall consist of about 60, all nominated members with no powers. As per section (16) of the Bill, 4 autonomous boards [ UGME Board, PGME Board, MAR(Medical Assessment and Rating) Board and EMR(Ethics and Medical Registration) Board] each shall consists of 3 nominated members and full powers will be vested with three nominated members as against over 130 members in the present MCI
  • As per section 10(1)(i) commission would decide Fee of seats not exceeding 40% ( from 1% to 40%) in the private medical institutions. What would be the chargeable fee for those percentage of seats for which no guidelines would be framed by the commission? This operationally will mean that the present 15% which is available to private institutions including deemed universities for charging higher fee, would stand augmented to the entire remainder which could be anything between 60% or more.
  • As per section 26(1)(b) of the Bill, all permissions to start medical college/PG/superspeciality courses or increase in seats in MBBS/PG/superspeciality courses will be granted by MAR board directly, which will have only 3 members and all would be nominated by central Government.
  • As per section (15) of the Bill, provision is made for introduction of licentiate examination mandatory after acquiring MBBS qualification. Without qualifying licentiate examination no person will be enrolled in the National register and would be entitled to practice and do further post graduate courses.
  • But as per proviso to section 33(1)(d) of the Bill, it stipulates that ‘the commission may permit a medical professional to perform surgery or practice medicine without qualifying the National Licentiate Examination, in such circumstances and for such period as may be specified by regulations’. 
  • Such sweeping powers are not only illegal but will give ample scope of manipulation and corruption.
  • As per section 55(2)(zl) of the Bill, the EMR Board shall maintain a separate National Register including the names of licensed AYUSH. The names of the BAMS and BHMS graduates are already registered with their respective councils. On availing the bridge course they would be incorporated in a separate register maintain by medical commission, which would mean that they would be having duel registrations with two registering councils, which is neither open nor permissible. Further, the disciplinary jurisdiction on such persons with reference to breach of ethics is not indicated in the proposed bill as they have duel registrations to their credit. As such these are the flood gates that have been opened up in terms of the statutory provisions for backdoor entry into medical profession entitling practicing modern medicine.
  • As per section (26)(1)(f) of the Bill It is provided that MAR Board take such measure,  including  imposition  of monetary penalty, against a medical institution for failure to maintain the minimum essential standards specified by the UGME Board or the PGME Board, as the case may be. The material point for consideration is that all the three monetary penalties are not to be less than one half and not more than ten times the total amount charged by such institution for one full batch of students of undergraduate course or postgraduate course as the case may be. It yields such wide period and discretionary power to the Board, which is liable to be misused.
  • As per section 29(b) of the Bill, the MAR board is to look into ‘whether adequate faculty and other necessary facilities have been provided to ensure proper functioning of the medical college or would be provided within the time limit specified in the scheme’ while granting permission to start Medical college or PG courses. 
  • This vests the board with a wide discretionary power to accord approval on a hypothetical assumptive presumption that the stipulated minimum requirements would be completed in due course of time. Added to this is as per proviso to section 29(d) of the Bill, the MAR Board can relax the criteria for opening of the medical colleges at its discretion with the previous approval from the Central Government which yields not only a wide authority but also provides adequate scope for availing the discretion for extraneous considerations.  
  • The said discretionary authority is not only vested with the autonomous board but also is with the Central Govt. as well. Such duel / double discretions to waive the applicability of statutory stipulations governing prescribed requirements per se bad in the eyes of the law and end up in providing ample scope for a free flowing corruption to dwell and get deep rooted.
  • As per section 44(1)(2) of the Bill, although, autonomy is expected to be a hallmark of the National Medical Commission Bill, 2017 and the Boards there under are called as, “Autonomous Boards” in reality the same is a misnomer as in the said proposed Bill the Central Govt. would be entitled to give directions to the Commission and autonomous boards on all the questions of policy which would be binding for the commission and autonomous Boards to comply.  Further it is clearly stipulated that the decision of the Central Govt. whether question is one of the policy or not would be final and is not open for any require of any type.
  • As per section 45 of the Bill, the Central Govt. would be within its rights to give such direction it may deem necessary to the State Govt. for carrying out all or any of the provisions of this Act and State Govt. shall comply with such directions. This is also undermining the authority of the State Govt. and is inconsistent with the cardinal principles governing the federal polity as stipulated in the Constitution of India. This will be source of bog manipulation in future.
  • Similarly as per section 10(1)(f) of the Bill, State Medical Councils also have to comply all such directions/policy of the National Medical Commission. This will be source of big manipulation in future.

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