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There is an increasing perception in the community that corruption is rampant in the Medical Council of India (MCI). The same was due to seats, both undergraduate and postgraduate in private medical colleges being sold in the market with superadded cash. This was because of the government policy to allow only Trusts and Societies to open medical colleges. These bodies, however, find it difficult to get loans from banks and financial institutions.
The MCI realized this and on one hand recommended NEET to eradicate cash fee and at the same time, amended the IMC Act and allowed charitable ‘not-for-profit’ companies and now private or listed companies also to open medical colleges.
It was the MCI, who first initiated the concept of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) as a common entrance test in the country for admission to MBBS, BDS or postgraduate (MD/MS) courses. A move which was opposed by many and ruled as “invalid” by the Supreme Court of India in 2013. It’s ironical that the Supreme Court reversed its order in 2016 and gave its nod to the common entrance test.
Another source of corruption was Indian students with foreign medical degrees getting license to practice in India. In 2002, MCI introduced a transparent screening test (Foreign Medical Graduates Examination or FMGE) as a mandatory qualifying examination for Indian students, who obtain their medical degrees from countries other than India to combat this loophole of corruption.
In 2009, MCI included a clause 6.8 pertaining to a code of conduct for doctor-pharma relationship in the IMC Act as a check for another loophole in corruption in the medical profession.
In 2014, MCI also started taking action against a hospital for unethical practices but a Delhi High Court judgement “Max Hospital, Pitampura vs Medical Council of India on 10 January, 2014” overruled the same and said that hospitals cannot be under the purview of MCI.
Recently, MCI had cancelled the registration of a doctor for 3 years for submitting a false declaration, which was set aside by the High Court of Delhi in the case of “Rajiv Agarwal vs MCI dated 10.11.2017”.
Since 2010, there has been a Board of Governors and then the Lodha Committee at the helm of affairs at the MCI. A new MCI elected body was constituted in 2014. No single case of corruption has been reported against the elected body.
Last year, a case was registered by the CBI against a former Odisha High Court judge IM Quddusi for an alleged “criminal conspiracy” with a Lucknow-based medical college, for allowing the said medical college to enroll students despite a ban by the Supreme Court and MCI for two years. In another example, Allahabad High Court judge Justice SN Shukla was found guilty of misconduct for his role in a medical college admission scam by an inquiry committee.
So, is MCI corrupt? Or does the corruption lie somewhere else?
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee Vice President CMAAO Group Editor-in-chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA