Oversight Committee to monitor MCI constituted, Centre tells SC

| | New Delhi

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that an Oversight Committee to monitor the affairs of the Medical Council of India (MCI) has been constituted, the names of which will be revealed to the Court on Tuesday.

The new Committee that will consist of five members will replace the previous Oversight Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) RM Lodha. Opposing the continuation of Justice Lodha panel, the Centre mounted an attack by pointing to the wrong committed by it in granting approval to medical colleges. The Lodha panel, also comprising eminent doctor Shiv Sareen and ex-CAG Vinod Rai, was constituted on orders of the Supreme Court on May 2, 2016 and was to function for a one-year period unless the Centre brings in an alternate mechanism to replace it.

Not wishing to enter into the debate surrounding the Lodha panel, a five-judge bench dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by medical colleges, said, "You are firing shots at yourself." The bench, headed by CJI JS Khehar told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar that the decisions of the Oversight Committee were to bind the MCI and not the Centre. It was always open to Centre to appoint an alternate Committee by which the term of Lodha Committee would automatically come to a close, the bench added.

The bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, RK Agarwal, DY Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer said, "If the government constitutes the Committee, then its fine or else we will have to do it." The Court was hearing a bunch of petitions by medical colleges demanding continuation of Lodha panel due to the paucity of time to seek approval for the next academic session. Arguing for colleges, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the Lodha panel comprised independent members, Any panel replacing it should have eminent and independent persons, they added.

S-G assured the Court that the Government will suggest names to the Court on Tuesday. It earlier suggested having a panel headed by Director General, Health Services and other government servants to oversee MCI but the colleges felt they would virtually impose Government's view.



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