NMC Frames Regulations to Prevent and Prohibit Ragging in Medical Institutes
New Delhi: With an aim to curb the menace of ragging at the medical colleges across the country, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has recently framed "Prevention and Prohibition of Ragging in Medical Colleges and Institutions Regulations, 2021.
The Regulations have specified the definition of ragging and also the actions that may constitute ragging. The NMC, the apex medical education regulatory body mentioned the measures to prohibit and prevent ragging by institutions including the duties and responsibilities of the institutes, measures required to be taken by the medical colleges, issue of migration, transfer or conduct certificates, measures to encourage g healthy interaction between freshers and seniors, Sensitisation of institutional employees and staff towards ragging, Institutional committees and related measures, Anti-ragging squad, Student Affairs or Hostel Committee, duties of the universities, etc.
Further, in an entirely separate chapter, NMC has clearly mentioned the ways to deal with incidents of ragging. The Regulations also contain the formats of undertaking by the students, parents, and head of the medical college.
What is Ragging?
NMC has defined "ragging" in the latest regulations as "any disorderly conduct, whether by words spoken or written or by an act which has the effect of teasing, treating or handling with rudeness any other student, indulging in rowdy or undisciplined activities which causes or is likely to cause annoyance, hardship or psychological harm or to raise fear or apprehension thereof in a fresher or a junior student or asking the students to do any act or perform something which such student will not in the ordinary course and which has the effect of causing or generating a sense of shame or embarrassment so as to adversely affect the physique or psyche of a fresher or a junior student."
How can Medical Colleges Prevent Ragging?
Focusing on the duties and responsibilities of the institutions to prohibit and prevent ragging, the Regulations mention, "Curbing and eradication of ragging requires the efforts of all stake holders', namely, seniors, freshers, teachers, parents and the civic society at large and the measures provided in the provisions of this Chapter form the broad guidelines for prohibiting and preventing ragging by the Institution."
NMC has specified the following measures that the medical college or institution needs to take to prohibit ragging-
"a) no institution, shall not in any manner permit or condone any reported incident of ragging in any form; and all institutions shall take all necessary and required measures, including but not limited to the provisions of these regulations, to achieve the objective of eliminating ragging, within the institution or outside;
(b) every medical college or institution shall take action in accordance with these regulations against those found guilty of ragging or abetting ragging, actively or passively, or being part of a conspiracy to promote ragging."
The Regulations have also mentioned the measures to be taken by the medical institutes to prevent ragging. Those measures include-
(i) the public notifications of the medical institutes should expressly provide that-
(a) Ragging is a serious offence that is totally prohibited in the medical college or institution
(b) anyone found guilty of ragging or abetting ragging, whether actively or passively, or being a part of a conspiracy to promote ragging, is liable to be punished in accordance with these regulations as well as under the provisions of any penal law for the time being in force.
(ii) The NMC regulations should be included in the in the admission brochure or prospectus or information bulletins.
(iii) All organizations conducting examinations for the purpose of entrance or exit or any other form of assessment and counseling or seat allotment related to the colleges or institutions, should include these regulations in their Information Bulletin. These organizations include NTA while conducting NEET-UG, NBE while conducting NEET PG, and NEET SS exams, MCC of DGHS while conducting Online Under Graduate Medical or Postgraduate or Super-specialty courses Seat Allotment process. Further, these regulations shall be included in the Information Bulletin of National Exist Test(NEXT) as well, NMC has clarified.
(iv) Medical institutes shall stagger the dates of admission such that the fresh batch is admitted before the commencement of new sessions of senior batches,
(v) The rules specify that before the commencement of the academic session in the medical institutes, the Head of the institute shall arrange a meeting of various functionaries or agencies, such as Hostel Wardens, representatives of students, parents or guardians, faculty, district administration including the police, to discuss the measures for curbing ragging,
(vi) The institute Heads shall set up Anti-Ragging Committees, Anti-Ragging Squads and other such committees or assign duties to fulfill the provisions of these regulations
(vii) In order to make students and the community at large aware of the dehumanizing effect of ragging, and the penal law applicable to such incidents, the medical colleges would utilize the media for providing wide publicity and to prominently,
(viii) The contact numbers, details of control room, helpline and the personnel related to anti-ragging activities shall be prominently displayed, provided and easily available to freshers and all concerned,
(ix) The vacation period before the commencement of the admission process may be used to publicise the objectives and provisions of these regulations,
x) the institution shall identify, properly illuminate and keep a close watch on all locations known to be vulnerable to occurrences of ragging incidents;
(xi) it should be ensured that except in those areas where unavoidable, there shall be no hindrance, by way of jamming, etc., to the use of mobile phones, within the medical college or institution including hostels and other areas;
(xii) it is recommended that monitoring of the campus, or at least areas vulnerable to incidents of ragging be done through video-surveillance;
(xiii) the Faculty and staff of the medical college or institution shall have induction arrangements, including those which anticipate, identify and plan to meet any special needs of any specific section of students, in place well in advance of the beginning of the academic year with an aim to promote the objectives of these regulations;
(xiv) every medical college or institution shall engage or seek the assistance of professional counselors or in-house counselors as may be available in the Department of Psychiatry before the commencement of the academic session, to be available for counseling students;
(xv) the medical college or institution may form a system of assigning faculty mentors before-hand who would communicate and regularly with students and their parents or guardians;
(xvi) the local police and authorities shall be provided with details of the dates of admission and the addresses of the every privately commercially managed hostels or lodges used for residential purposes by students enrolled in the medical college or institution;
(xvii) the Anti-Ragging Squad shall have adequate drills to be adequately competent to conduct vigil after students are admitted;
(xviii) an Anti-Ragging Control Room may be established with contact details so that students are able to contact the control room at any time of the day or night to report incidents of ragging or seek such assistance as may be needed;
(xix) adequate and robust communication mechanisms shall be put in place so that should the need arise, the medical college or institution can immediately and simultaneously contact and relay information within the institution to appropriate officials, the district authorities and the police;
(xx) the institutional website shall have provision for posting anti-ragging notifications, activities, and also the reports of incidents of ragging and the action taken thereof under public domain.
What Students Need to do at the time of admission?
Apart from the measures that need to be taken by the medical institutes, NMC Regulations have further specified about the required process that the students need to comply with at the time of admission.
As per the regulations,
(i) at the time of admission, an undertaking shall be taken that the student shall not involve in ragging in any manner whatsoever in the format given in the following Annexure, namely:––
(a) Undertaking by the Student in Form I;
(b) Undertaking by the Parent or Guardian in Form II;
(ii) those who seek admission in hostels either within the premises or outside the premises of the medical college or institution shall give an undertaking that the student shall not be involved in ragging in any manner whatsoever in the format given in the following Annexures, namely:––
(a) Undertaking by the Student in Form I;
(b) Undertaking by the Parent / Guardian in Form II;
(iii) The admission requirements shall include document in the form of the School Leaving Certificate or Transfer Certificate or Migration Certificate or Character Certificate, as the case may be, which shall include a report on the behavioural pattern of the applicant,
(iv) At the time of admission, the students shall inform the medical college or institution about his place of residence while pursuing the course of study, and in case the student has not decided his place of residence or intends to change the same, the details of his place of residence shall be provided immediately on deciding the same; and specifically in regard to a private commercially managed lodge or hostel where he has taken up residence,
(v) The regulations further mention that the students after admission shall be given the details of contact number of Anti-Ragging Helpline or control room referred to in these regulations, wardens, Head of the institution, members of the Anti-Ragging Squads and Committees, relevant district and police authorities. Further the students will have to be provided with the details of the arrangements for integrating them with the previous students, their rights as bona fide students of the institute, clear instructions that they shouldn't do anything against their will and report about any acts of ragging, instructions that for a specific period of time they shall be accompanied and monitored while they leave hostels to a mess or canteen or other facilities. The students will also notify beforehand about any of their visit and the reason for such visit along with the contact details of the concerned people.
Apart from these, the Regulations have also specified the measures that the medical colleges need to take after the completion of the admission process including, Separate Hostel facilities.
"freshers shall be lodged, as far as may be, in a separate hostel block or wing and the medical college or institution shall ensure that access of seniors to accommodation allotted to freshers is strictly monitored by wardens, security guards and other staff of the institution," clearly mention the Regulations.
Responsibilities of authorities:
The NMC Regulations further include the duties and responsibilities of the Universities, of the Commission for curbing ragging at the medical institutes.
As per the Regulations, the duties of the Universities include, constituting a Monitoring Committee, reviewing the anti-ragging measures of its affiliated medical colleges and institutes, taking suitable action against defaulting medical colleges or institutes affiliated with it for non-compliance under the intimation to the Commission and the State Governments or Central Government as may be appropriate.
Further the Universities shall play a facilitatory role and provide suggestions to the medical colleges for implementing the measures to prohibit and prevent ragging.
The Regulations further mentioned, "Every University shall co-ordinate with the Commission, especially when punitive measures related to derecognition of institutions, courses and degrees are concerned, since several aspects of medical education and training are regulated under the provisions of Act."
Among the duties of the Commission, the role mainly revolves around monitoring the medical colleges or institutes through the Universities with which they are affiliated with regard to implementation and compliance of the provisions of these regulations.
For this, the medical colleges shall submit compliance report to the Commission in the format of Form III before the Commission and NMC shall review the compliance during the inspection of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board.
If a medical college fails to comply with the regulations, the Commission shall take appropriate action as it may deem fit which includes but is not limited to the following, namely:––
(i) initiate de-recognition process against such medical college or institution;
(ii) reduce the admission capacity of that medical college or institution to such extent to which the Commission may deem fit;
(iii) stop further admission in that medical college or institution until further orders;
(iv) stop renewal of permission for undergraduate, postgraduate and super specialty medical courses;
(v) post the information regarding penalties so imposed on the concerned medical college or institution on the website of the Commission for information of all concerned; and
(vi) any other exemplary measure, as may be necessary.