Online TN Medical Council Polls opposed, State seeks 3 months time for replacing Madras Medical Council Registration Act
Chennai: Opposing the online voting for the Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC), the Council on Monday has argued before the Madras High Court about the feasibility of e-voting.
In this regard, the Council has referred to the fact that around 50,000 doctors who constitute one-third of registered medical practitioners in Tamil Nadu, have not submitted basic details including their mobile phone numbers and e-mail address.
Meanwhile, the State Government, which had earlier been directed for revamping the Madras Medical Council Registration Act, has prayed from the Court three months time in this regard.
Agreeing to the prayer, the HC bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice Bharatha Chakravarthy has granted three months time to the State for finalising the new law. Until the new law gets finalised, the current office bearers will continue to function, the Court has clarified in its order.
The Division bench of Madras High Court was considering the plea filed by Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) which challenged the order of the Single Judge staying the polls for three months until the Madras Medical Registration Act, 1914 was revamped.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that Madras HC had directed the State Government for revamping the "archaic" Madras Medical Registration Act, 1914, which was still being used for conducting polls and to appoint office bearers. Issuing directions to the State for revamping the old act within three months, the HC bench comprising Justice R Subramaniam had directed TNMC for deferring the elections till that time.
It was claimed before the HC that the Council was still relying on the "archaic" Act for conducting the polls. As per Section 5(1), among the 15 members of the Council, one was to be elected by the Senate of the Madras Medical University, one from the Senate of the Andhra University, one had to be a practicing doctor from Vishakapatnam Medical College.
Taking note of this, the Court had observed that the reference to these was because of the Act, which was formulated before the linguistic division of the State. Therefore, opining that there was a need for a complete revamp, the HC bench orally remarked, "How can you conduct elections with such archaic rules? This was for Madras presidency. Change the rules and then conduct elections."
However, the order of the Single Judge bench was challenged by the Council. Challenging the Single bench order, the Medical Council argued that as per the concerned Act, seven registered medical practitioners were also included in the Council. Referred to the fact that the term of the current members was ending on February 16, the Council urged the HC bench for allowing the election of such seven medical practitioners from amongst themselves.
It was argued by the Council that the Single-judge's opinion regarding the "archaic" provisions of the Act was regarding the election of other members and not the practising medical practitioners. Therefore, the Council submitted that there would not be any harm in allowing the election of the medical practitioners.
The Council had also submitted that it had already spent around Rs 25 lakh for conducting the election through postal ballot and therefore urged the Court for allowing the election process that had kickstarted in August last year.
Not agreeing to the contention of the Council, the HC bench opined that since the singe judge bench had ordered for a revamp of the entire Act, it would not be proper for allowing the election of the medical practitioners as per the former Act.
Live Law adds that Advocate General R Shunmughasundaram informed the bench that the revamping process involves discussion and deliberation with experts and concerned stakeholders and therefore, the State urged the Government for granting time.
Agreeing the bench granted three months time for finalising the new law and clarified that until such time, the current office bearers would continue to function.
As per the latest media report by The Hindu, the Council also opposed the Single-Judge's order for considering to introduce the e-voting for electing the members. In this regard, the President of TNMC K. Senthil informed the bench that the Council's initiative back in 2020 for collecting the e-mail IDs and mobile phone numbers of all the registered medical practitioners did not offer desired results even though repeated reminders had been sent.
“The leamed judge has failed to note that e-voting with one time password (OTP) has not been used even in many scientifically advanced developed countries such as the U.S., U.K., Germany etc. considering the risk factors. Many medical councils all over the world are still using postal ballot papers for their election,” submitted President Senthil.
Granting the State time for revamping the rules, the bench has adjourned the appeals by TNMC by three months.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.