Highlights of the Bill

  • The Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2005 seeks to change the composition of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and increase its accountability to the central government.
  • The MCI shall now have one member for every 10 medical colleges in a state instead of one member from each university. The heads of four national level bodies will be ex-officio members. The central government may nominate members for any seat falling vacant due to elections not being held.
  • The composition of the executive committee of MCI has also been modified. The four ex-officio members of MCI shall be part of this committee.
  • The central government has been granted the power to give directions to MCI in public interest. It can also direct MCI to make specific regulations.
  • The central government can dissolve the executive committee or dismiss its office bearers under some specified conditions.

Key Issues and Analysis

  • There are two major issues. First, the proportion of elected members in the MCI and its executive committee has been lowered. Second, the Bill gives the central government powers to override the decisions of the council, and even to dissolve the executive committee.
  • The percentage of elected members of MCI will decline from 69% to 54%. If elections were not held on time for even 5 of the 49 elected seats, elected members would be in a minority.
  • Elected members will be in a minority in the executive committee (excluding President and Vice President).
  • The powers granted to the central government could lower the autonomy and independence of the MCI to function as a regulatory body.
  • New provisions to improve accountability have been proposed without utilising provisions within the existing Act, such as the power of the central government to constitute a Commission of Enquiry.

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