NMC regulations on duration, internship for MBBS abroad challenged, High Court issues notice
New Delhi: The National Medical Commission's Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations 2021 have been contested before the Delhi High Court by a medical aspirant challenging the stipulated duration of MBBS and equivalent courses pursued from foreign medical institutes as well as internship and registration compulsion for medicos who intend to practice in India.Considering the plea, the...
New Delhi: The National Medical Commission's Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations 2021 have been contested before the Delhi High Court by a medical aspirant challenging the stipulated duration of MBBS and equivalent courses pursued from foreign medical institutes as well as internship and registration compulsion for medicos who intend to practice in India.
Considering the plea, the High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has issued a notice and fixed the case for hearing on February 28.
The Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations 2021 were notified last year in November changing the dynamics for foreign medical education. These regulations would not be applicable to foreign medical graduates who have acquired a foreign medical degree or primary qualification prior to the coming into force of these regulations or to those candidates who are pursuing their education in foreign institutions prior to the coming into force of these regulations or to those who are specifically exempted by the Commission or the Central Government, the NMC had clarified at the time of notifying the same.
According to the Livelaw report, the petitioner is a medical aspirant, desirous of pursuing BS Biology (1.5 - 2 years) leading to Doctor of Medicine-MD (48 months) at Lyceum North Western University, Philippines, which is at par with the MBBS course in India.
In the petition, the aspirant has challenged the norms laid down by the NMC under Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations, 2021 with respect to the duration of the MBBS or MBBS equivalent course which students have pursued from foreign medical institutes, mandatory internship, both abroad and in India and registration of medicos to practice. In addition, the powers of the apex medical regulator to impose such rules have also been contested in the plea.
It is the petitioner's case that the impugned regulations of 2021 are ultra vires the parent statute, i.e., the National Medical Commission Act, 2019. Further, it is contended that the impugned regulations bring in certain new disabilities which will adversely affect her career and the careers of many Indian students who wish to take admission in foreign medical universities, reports Livelaw.
The Challenges made in the petition are as follows:
Duration of MBBS and equivalent courses
Regulation 4(i) of the regulations has laid down the minimum duration of the MBBS course is 54 months for recognition in India. On this, the petitioner has argued that this will jeopardize the careers of students pursuing, and those who wish to pursue undergraduate medical courses whose duration is less than 54 months from foreign countries.
"...MBBS course with less than 54 months of course duration is already recognised by Section 36(4) of the NMC Act. Now, the impugned notification, which is a subordinate legislation, cannot override or amend Section 36(4) of the NMC Act," the plea reads.
It adds, "The respondents have lost sight that countries that offers MBBS course for less than 54 months, their universities and colleges are ranked higher in WHO ranking for quality education in medical field."
Mandatory Internship: Abroad and India
The regulations recommend two internships for foreign medical graduates; one in the country where they graduate from; and the second in India, after they pass the exit test, NEXT (when comes into force) or the FMGE Screening Test.
"This is an additional hardship put upon the foreign medical graduates, and there is no foundation for the same under the NMC Act...this will also cause undue delay for the foreign medical students to start their medical profession in India," it is contended in the petition.
The plea further averred that the said prescription is contrary to the Kerala High Court's decision which upheld the validity of internships done abroad and held that subsequent internship is not required.
Kerala High Court had clarified that a person after obtaining medical qualification from abroad should be eligible for being granted State Medical Council registration in India if he has already completed a one-year internship abroad. In other words, that medical graduates who have already done their one-year internship abroad, need not do another internship in India for obtaining registration as a doctor in India.
Registration to practice medicine
Clause 4(b) of the Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations, 2021 requires foreign medical graduates to have registration from the country where they graduate from, at par with the licence to practice medicine given to citizens of that country.
Challenging this, the plea stated, "The respondents have ventured into immigration policy. Applying for licence to practice in the country of graduation amounts to applying for an immigration and work visa. The respondents cannot force the foreign medical graduates to undertake immigration and apply for work visa which will put the additional financial burden on them only for the purpose of writing exit test."
NMC Powers under the Act
The impugned regulations have been enacted assuming powers under Section 15(4) and Section 57 of the NMC, Act which deal with the apex medical regulator's powers to make regulations.
On this, the plea avers that there are no powers under Section 15(4) and Section 57 of the NMC, Act to frame any rules and regulations for taking admission to foreign medical universities, and to decide their curriculum, duration, internships etc, adds the legal newsportal.
Garima joined Medical Dialogues in the year 2017 and is currently working as a Senior Editor. She looks after all the Healthcare news pertaining to Medico-legal cases, MCI/DCI decisions, Medical Education issues, government policies as well as all the news and updates concerning Medical and Dental Colleges in India. She is a graduate from Delhi University and pursuing MA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org Contact no. 011-43720751