‘Transparency, fair practice will be lost with the introduction of new bills’

Chennai: Doctors’ fraternity across the country have raised their voices against the National Medical Commission Bill (2017), Indian Medical Council (amendments) Bill (2018) and Consumer Protection Bill (2018) which were passed in Lok Sabha recently.

Showing their disapproval against the bills, the doctors and medical staff held a protest by wearing black badge to get the attention of law makers on Friday.

News Today speaks to Indian Medical Association Tamilnadu chapter president, Dr Kanagasabapathi to know the details.A council set-up under the Consumer Protection Act has been functional in our country since 1986. The new bill was passed in the Parliament on 12 December and replaces the Act.

The council had district, state and national forums presided by a retired judge and two members to adjudicate the cases.

Explaining about the new bill, Dr Kanagasabapathi said, “The present bill seeks the elimination of judge and the Central government possesses the power to nominate the authority. It should also be noted that there has not been any qualification requirement set by the Parliament members. If the leading authority lacks technical knowledge, issuing just ruling is a challenge.”

When a beneficiary seeks legal intervention in case of mishap, the committee gets an opinion from a medical expert. The new bill also eliminated having a third opinion from an outside person. Chances of unfair investigation being conducted could rise up if implemented, he said.
The new Consumer bill also has a mediation council that does not have a bar for qualification. “If implemented, we cannot witness a legal proceeding but a kangaroo court,” claimed Dr Kanagasabapathi.

Further the National Medical Commission Bill (2017) replaces the Medical Council of India (IMC) with Indian Medical Council (amendments) Bill (2018). It was passed on 31 December. MCI was the regulatory body for medical education and has members nominated from all States.

“The 2017 bill only has 10 nominated members which again would be nominated by the Centre. Transparency and fair practice would be lost if every State loses its member,” he justified.

Bhavani Prabhakar