Kolkata Pediatric Surgeon gets court relief after NMC recommends recognition of two PG specializations from Germany
Kolkata: After a long battle of three years, the Kolkata-based pediatric surgeon Dr Biswajit Bhaduri has finally won the case against the Union of India, as the Union Health Ministry has made two medical specialization degrees in pediatric surgeries from Germany valid in India.The decision by the Health Ministry has been taken based on the recommendations made by National Medical Commission...
Kolkata: After a long battle of three years, the Kolkata-based pediatric surgeon Dr Biswajit Bhaduri has finally won the case against the Union of India, as the Union Health Ministry has made two medical specialization degrees in pediatric surgeries from Germany valid in India.
The decision by the Health Ministry has been taken based on the recommendations made by National Medical Commission (NMC) that these degrees should be recognized in the country.
In pursuance, the West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC), on January 29, was directed by the Health Ministry to recognize these pediatric specialization degrees from Germany. Following this, the Calcutta High Court has dropped the contempt proceedings against the Centre.
The case ensued in 2018 when The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC) had directed Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI), the employer of Dr Bhaduri, to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh on account of deficiency in the treatment of a child.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the commission also did not recognize the degrees held by the in-house pediatric surgeon who had done his specialization from Germany, reprimanding the hospital for not undertaking the credentialing properly.
During the hearing of the case, on 23.03.2018, the question that popped up before the Commission had been whether Dr Biswajit Bhaduri, the concerned pediatric surgeon had been duly qualified to perform pediatric surgery on the strength of his postgraduate degree and whether the degree possessed by him had been recognized by the Medical Council when the Clinical Establishment had directed to deposit the appointment letter of Dr. Biswajit Bhaduri and his postgraduate qualification recognized by concerned Medical Council.
However, it had been held by the commission that the credential of Dr Bhaduri had not been verified by the hospital either before his appointment or during the renewal of his term of employment. It had also pointed out that the postgraduate qualification possessed by Dr Bhaduri had not been included in the said schedule as one of the recognised qualifications of MCI and he had been registered with the State Medical Council as an MBBS doctor.
Finding the degrees possessed by Dr Bhaduri as invalid, the Commission had asked CMRI to pay a sum of Rs.10 lakh as compensation to the complainant.
However, Dr Bhaduri challenged the observation of the Commission, which had held his degrees of specialization from Germany as unrecognized. He had approached the Calcutta High Court in 2019 and had filed a petition against the Union of India and others.
The counsel for the petitioner stated before the court that he had obtained two degrees/qualifications from the Medical Council of Saxony on December 15, 1993, and from the University of Leipzig on March 2, 1994. The qualification obtained on December 15, 1993, would translate to a Certificate of Registration given to Dr Biswajit Bhaduri as Master of Paediatric Surgery. The counsel for Dr Bhaduri further stated that the degree had been "Facharzt Fuer Kinderchirurgie", which included all kinds of surgery of children. The qualification obtained on March 2, 1994, had purported to be of "Doctor Medicinae" which had been given to Dr Biswajit Bhaduri after proving his academic ability in the area of paediatric surgery in a proper doctoral dissertation.
The counsel for Dr Bhaduri had further submitted before the court that the first of the qualification had been included in the general degree for surgery which had been included in Part II of the Third Schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 which had mentioned Facharzt Fuer Chirurgie (Specialist Surgeon) West Germany. The counsel for Dr Bhaduri had also submitted that the second of the degrees had been a Master Degree and had cited German to English Dictionary in support of his contention.
Justice Protik Prakash Banerjee, while listening to the plea had mentioned that "it is not up to me to decide the equivalence." He had directed that the representation made to The Union of India to be "considered and disposed of by respondent no.2 which is the concerned authority after due consultation with respondent no.4 in the light of the stand of the German Consulate as at page 71 of the writ petition after giving full the opportunity of being heard to all concerned including the father of the deceased patients and the writ petitioner by passing a reasoned order."
As per the High Court order, the entire exercise had to be done within two months from the date of communication of the court order i.e. 31.07.2019.
The Court had disposed of the petition saying that the court order "shall not permit the writ petitioner to represent that he has any of the said additional qualifications until disposal of the writ petitioner's representation by respondent no.2 and subject to its result keeping in mind that the writ petitioner had applied for inclusion of this additional qualifications for the first time under Section 26 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 only on August 1, 2017."
The HC had further directed that the concerned authorities shall act on the basis of the representation to the said writ petition served on the parties.
However, the order had not been complied with as directed by HC till January 2021. Following this, Dr Bhaduri had approached the High Court again with a contempt application regarding the issue on January 4, 2021.
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, the Calcutta High Court has finally dropped the contempt proceedings on Tuesday as Union Health Ministry had acted on the NMC, (erstwhile MCI) recommendations and had recognized in India the two medical specialization degrees in paediatric surgeries from Germany.
Following the information obtained from the Centre, WBMC had also recognized these degrees on January 29.
While commenting on the victory after a long battle of three years, Dr Bhaduri informed TOI that he had to face hostile fellow practitioners brought up in the British system of medicine who had been unfamiliar with the German system of medical training. They had often labelled his degrees as "fake" and even threatened him.
Dr Bhaduri had further expressed his joy and referred to the HC order as "vindication" of his "lone fight for justice and lost prestige"