After much controversy and delay, the Maharashtra Medical Council’s (MMC) elections are set for December 18 to elect at least nine doctors to the executive committee. The new executive council will be responsible for handling cases of medical negligence against doctors and ensuring ethical practices. The elections will be a breather for patients who have queued up with complaints at the MMC and awaiting a date for hearing. The MMC, a state arm of the Indian Medical Council, registers allopathic doctors and can cancel or suspend licenses if it finds medical misconduct by any doctor. It remained defunct until 2011 and has not even heard a single complaint filed in 2014 and 2015.
The final date for receiving nominations from doctors for fresh elections is October 24. “So far, five doctors have applied for nomination. We cannot disclose their names until nomination period ends,” said returning officer Ajit Sasulkar. With fresh election slated after a delay of one year after the tenure ended in 2015, the new council will have 18 members. Of them, nine will be elected, five nominated by the state government, and four will be state government officials.
“However, if we receive less nominations than available seats, the elections will be cancelled,” Sasulkar added. The voting will be done through secret ballot with one polling booth in each of 36 districts for doctors. The doctors are allowed to campaign just like political parties do during general elections.
“The secret ballot process started in 2010. Before that elections were held by postal ballot,” said interim registrar for MMC Abhay Chaudhari. The council was in midst of controversy after it was suspended by state medical education department in August following a probe that confirmed financial irregularities along with harassment of a few doctors at the hands of council members.
A three-member committee investigated charges levelled by then vice-president Avinash Yelikar. According to Yelikar, the council was involved in misuse of power and diverting funds. In August end, the council’s former president Dr Kishor Taori also passed away after battling illness for over six months.