By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 4 Jan: Dr DD Choudhury, Honorary State Secretary of the Indian Medical Association Uttaranchal State Branch has stated in a press release that the association represents the modern medicine doctors of India. It has more than 3 lakh members over 1700 local branches in 29 states and 3 Union Territories. The Government of India had introduced the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 in the Lok Sabha, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health. The Parliamentary Standing Committee after examining a large number of witnesses, experts, various stakeholders, etc., had recommended 24 amendments unanimously to the bill. Government of India had accepted only one recommendation in toto and three others in partial manner. The IMA feels that this NMC Bill still remains undemocratic, anti-federal, anti-poor, pro-rich and intends to centralise the total authority with the Government of India. The IMA is determined to resist NMC at all costs.
The IMA has very strong reservations in the way that an elected MCI was superseded for no credible reason. Moreover, undue haste was shown by issuing an ordinance creating a nominated Board of Governors, while the election process was underway. The IMA believes the MCI represents plurality of opinion from a multitude of institutions in a federal nation. It asserts that it is preposterous to install a nominated Board of Governors that will never be able to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of India’s diverse people. The IMA unequivocally opposes this ‘coloured exercise of power’. The IMC (Amendments) Bill 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 31 December, 2018.
The original Consumer Protection Act, 1986, passed by Parliament did not envisage inclusion of the medical profession. The medical profession was brought under its purview in 1994. The Indian Medical Association had given certain suggestions for the draft Bill 2015, which were put in the public domain but have not been considered in the 2018 Bill. The Consumer Protection Bill 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 20 December, 2018. There are serious concerns regarding this Bill which can affect the common people.
The IMA has put forward the following points: Very high compensation awards give rise to more frivolous litigations and indirectly promote defensive medicine. The compensation awards for medical negligence cases have to be capped to levels prescribed for drug trials. A court without a Judge would be a Kangaroo court. A court cannot be entirely constituted with lay persons. Litigations by organisations or associations are vindictive in nature. These organisations have no locus standi in law. It would be a bad precedence to allow such a practice. Peer expert opinion needs to be made mandatory before taking up a case of medical negligence by the consumer fora. Representatives of the Indian Medical Association have to be included in the consumer mediation cells and district, state and national consumer councils. Provisions for imposing sufficient penalty for frivolous complaints have to be retained.
By OUR STAFF REPORTER