New Delhi: Union Health Minister J P Nadda recently stated in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, prohibits a person other than a medical practitioner enrolled on a State Medical Register to practise medicine in the State.
The minister further said that punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine which may extend to Rs 1,000 or both is also prescribed, according to a statement issued on May 5.
So, does it mean that doctors registered in the medical register of one state cannot legally practise medicine in another state?
New Delhi-based medico-legal expert Dr M C Gupta doesn’t think so.
Dr Gupta told India Medical Times, “The minister has made a wrong statement in the Parliament. It is unfortunate. It is further unfortunate that the MCI and the IMA prefer to keep silent. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs.”
According to Dr Gupta, “As per the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, a doctor registered with any one state medical council gets his name automatically included in the Indian Medical Register and he is thereby entitled to practise medicine anywhere in India.”
The MCI Ethics Committee also observed in a meeting held on September 2, 2004 that “there is no necessity of registration in more than one state medical council because any doctor, who has registered with any state medical council is automatically registered in the Indian Medical Register and also by virtue of Section 27 of the IMC Act, 1956, a person, whose name is included in the IMR, can practise anywhere in India.”
Following the statement made by Nadda, Dr Gupta has written to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), the Medicos Legal Action Group (MLAG), and the Qualified Private Medical Practitioners Association (QPMPA) asking them to protest against such misinformed remarks and write to the minister for an immediate rectification and clarification.
Response to the same from the above-mentioned medical representative bodies is awaited. Such confusion can impact the lives of thousands of doctors practising in different states who are left hanging without surety of their own legal status.
by Namrata Choudhury