Monday, December 14, 2015

MCI not to upload the minutes of any ethics committee meeting held

The Medical Council of India (MCI), has revised its working methodology and has decided not to make public the minutes of any ethics committee meetings, where the medical negligence cases and cases relating to professional misconduct of doctors are heard. Since October 2013, the MCI has not uploaded the minutes of any ethics committee meeting held, that is, after the current administration took over.

MCI said that the decision taken in each case would be respective to that particular case. The council further added that no consolidated minutes of the meetings of the ethics committee are now being maintained/prepared. This is done as the ethics committee of the council considers the matter before it in a quasi-judicial capacity and makes judgement upon the appeal/complaint. The committee has to decide upon the matter that affects the rights and duties of the contesting parties in accordance with the principles of natural justice and disclosing the proceedings prior to conclusion of a matter would serve no public interest.

The minutes of ethics committee meetings were uploaded regularly from May 2011 to May 2013 on the MCI website. The minutes of each committee meeting started with confirmation of the minutes of the previous meeting and all proceedings were absolutely transparent till the current council took over in November 2013.

However, some medico-legal experts have expressed their displeasure at this new turn of events and believe that minutes of hearings need to be public. It have also pointed out that this decision by MCI seems more like an attempt to hide the irregularities in the MCI that are being frequently reported. Many appeals seeking the minutes of meetings were met with stony silence till the applicants approached the chief information commissioner who had to force the MCI to hand over the specific minutes sought and threaten the public information officer with penalty.

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