Govt proposes changes in law governing MCI

With corruption charges hitting the Medical Council of India, the government plans to take over powers to remove its president and other office bearers if they are found involved in offences of "moral turpitude". 

The government is proposing changes in the law governing the MCI through Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, 2013 which is under consideration of the Health Ministry. 

Through a new clause, the proposed bill also makes mandatory renewal of enrolment of doctors every 10 years in the registers maintained by the body or state councils. 

Once the bill becomes an Act, doctors who have been enrolled with Indian Medical Register or the State Medical Register for 10 years will have to apply for renewal within a year. 

The Council, which was hit by allegations of corruption a few years ago, was replaced by a board of governors to regulate its functioning. 

The bill also proposes to restrict the number of terms to two a person can remain president or vice-president. As per the initial draft, the term of the council has also been reduced to four years from the present five years. 

A new clause has been inserted to give the Centre powers to remove president, vice-president or member on grounds of being declared insolvent, being physically and mentally incapable and being declared by a court of having an 'unsound' mind. 

The other grounds for removal include conviction in an offence which, in the opinion of the central government, involves "moral turpitude". 

A person having acquired such financial or other interests which could prejudice his or her function can also be removed from the post. 

The president, the vice-president or a member of the MCI can also be removed if the Centre thinks that he or she has abused the position which renders his or her continuance in office "detrimental to overall public interest". 

Being found guilty of "proved misbehaviour" can also lead to removal, the bill proposes. But at the same time, a person cannot be removed from the post without being given "reasonable opportunity" of being heard in the matter. 

The Medical Council of India was first established in 1934 under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933. The Council was later reconstituted under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 that replaced the earlier Act. 

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