New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for the issue of an ordinance to pave the way for an elected body of the apex medical regulator. The term of the Medical Council of India's Board of Governors has ended, rendering the apex medical regulator headless.
Sources said the Cabinet gave its approval to the note for the draft ordinance in this regard which is likely to be issued by the President soon. The need for issue of an ordinance came as the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which allows for an elected apex medical regulator, is yet to be passed by Parliament even though it has been approved by the Cabinet.
The MCI was being run by a seven-member Board of Governors headed by its chairman -- all of whom were nominated by the government. The Board's term expired on May 13. The MCI is without a proper body since then.
The elected MCI body was disbanded by the government and a Board of Governors was installed after its then Chairman Ketan Desai was arrested by CBI on graft charges. The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013 seeks to give government powers to remove the President or other MCI office-bearers if they are found indulging in corrupt practices or serious offences of "moral turpitude".
Once passed, the Bill seeks to bring about such necessary changes requiring the government to act in case of serious charges against MCI office-bearers. The changes in the new law governing the apex medical regulator, proposed by the Union Health Ministry, include fixing tenure of the President of the elected-body of MCI to a maximum period of four years for two continuous terms.
Earlier, the MCI President could have a five-year tenure and there was no limit on the number of terms. The changes have been necessitated as government had no control over the elected body under the present law governing it. The new Bill also makes mandatory renewal of enrolment of doctors every 10 years in the registers maintained by the body or state councils.