New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the names of five “outstanding” doctors who will now constitute the oversight committee to oversee functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Describing the five names proposed by the Central government as “undoubtedly outstanding”, the bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justice R.K.Agrawal, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer said that the Oversight Committee “shall commence its functions forthwith”.
The names given to the court were of AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, Chandigarh-based PGIMER’s Director Jagat Ram, Bengaluru-based NIMHANS’ Director B.N. Gangadharan, AIIMS’s Paediatrics Department head V.K. Paul, Endocrinology Department head Nikhil Tandon.
The court permitted the government to seek the substitution of the names in the Oversight Committee, if the occasion so arises.
“Our only worry is if these people have time. I know they don’t have time,” Chief Justice Khehar said as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar gave the names of the five eminent doctors.
Dispelling the misgivings of the bench, Ranjit Kumar said: “We have taken their consent”.
Accepting the names proposed by the Centre, the bench in its order asked the government to “nominate one of the members of the reconstituted Oversight Committee, as its Chairperson”.
Spelling out the functions of the Oversight Committee, the court said that it “will have the authority to oversee the functioning of Medical Council of India” and all of MCI’s decisions/ recommendations will require its approval before they are communicated to the Central government.
Noting that the Oversight Committee would function till the Centre puts in place any other “appropriate mechanism”, or “until further orders”, the court said that the Committee would be free to issue “appropriate remedial directions for improvement in the functioning of MCI”.
Pointing out that the functions of the Oversight Committee would be limited to overseeing the functioning of MCI, the court made it clear that all the decision would finally rest with the Central government.
The court further said that in the event of Centre taking a view different from the one taken by the “MCI in conjunction with the Oversight Committee”, then it would record the reasons for the same.
It allowed the aggrieved parties to take course of law to assail any decision arrived at by the government.
The reconstitution of the Oversight Committee became necessary after the expiry of the term of the erstwhile Committee headed by the former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha.
The Supreme Court had on May 2, 2016, set-up a three member committee to oversee MCI’s functioning, including its statutory functions and vetting of all its policy decisions.
Besides Justice Lodha, other members of the previous committee were former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai and Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences Director Shiv Sarin.
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