The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has ordered an interim stay on notifications regarding appointment of a state-elected member of Medical Council of India (MCI) in view of a petition alleging that the election process in Maharashtra had been rigged.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has already asked the MCI to inquire into the election process.
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MCI is a national body that regulates allopathic doctors and their code of conduct. It has 120 members on its panel, of whom four represent Maharashtra.
The petitioner, Nagpur-based Dr Ashok Adhao, was one of the five people contesting for the MCI member’s post, the election to which was conducted by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) in April. The election began on March 9 and ended April 9, for which DMER sent ballot papers to over 85,000 registered medical practitioners.
As per MCI rules, each doctor registered with Maharashtra Medical Council had to vote by post for one of the five doctors — Nagsen Ramraje, Ashok Aadhao, Girish Maindarkar, Tushar Jagtap and Jagiasi Bawa.
According to the petition, Maindarkar, who secured the maximum votes, had allegedly adopted illegal means and got thousands of votes delivered in his name via postal ballot from Dadar, against Rule 25(1) of the Indian Medical Council (Elections) Rules, 1957.
Fadnavis’s letter said that 8,812 of 29,000 votes were dispatched from a single post office.
A source from the medical education department said, “Preliminary facts show that there were discrepancies in the election process.”
Dr Adhao, in his petition, also blamed DMER director Dr Pravin Shringare for “connivance”. Shringare, however, said, “I only discharged my duties as returning officer. My job was to count all votes and notify the name of the winner. No rigging has taken place at our office.”