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What happens if the state medical council does not decide the complaint in six months?

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Dr KK Aggarwal and Ms Ira Gupta    17 June 2018

If the state medical council does not decide the matter in six months, then the case can be taken over by the MCI. The MCI Code of Ethics Section 8.7 is self explanatory in this regard.

MCI Act 8.7: Where either on a request or otherwise the Medical Council of India is informed that any complaint against a delinquent physician has not been decided by a State Medical Council within a period of six months from the date of receipt of complaint by it and further the MCI has reason to believe that there is no justified reason for not deciding the complaint within the said prescribed period, the Medical Council of India may-

  1. Impress upon the concerned State Medical council to conclude and decide the complaint within a time bound schedule;

  2. May decide to withdraw the said complaint pending with the concerned State Medical Council straightaway or after the expiry of the period which had been stipulated by the MCI in accordance with para(i) above, to itself and refer the same to the Ethical Committee of the Council for its expeditious disposal in a period of not more than six months from the receipt of the complaint in the office of the Medical Council of India.”

Comment: MCI cannot take the complaint directly unless the state medical council has not acted in six months. In other terms it is only an appellate body. MCI decided cases can only be taken by respective high courts and not by district courts.

The case described below further illustrates this.

In an MCI Order: Complaint against Eye Surgeon as alleged by complainant (F.No. 78(2010): The Ethics Committee noted that the complaint dt. 21.01.2010 against the Eye Surgeon was referred to the Haryana State Medical & Dental Council (HSM&DC) vide this Council letter dt. 13.03.2010 for investigation and necessary action within the prescribed period of 6 months. No response has been received from the HSM&DC till date even after repeated reminders dated 03.01.2011, 15.04.2011, 07.07.2011 & 12.03.2012. The Committee sent a letter in this regard to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Haryana and Principal Chief Secretary (Health), Govt. of Haryana for no action taken on the part of HSM&DC as requested by this Council since 13.03.2010.Further, in terms of 8.7 of sub-clause (ii) of Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, the Committee decided to withdraw the said complaint pending with the HSM&DC with intimation to the said Council.The committee thereafter took over the investigations as the primary agency.

It is always better to have the state council to decide the matter as if you lose in the state medical council you still have one more chance to appeal in the MCI.

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