Contempt notice to central government, Medical Council


New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Monday issued a contempt notice to the central government and the Medical Council of India (MCI) for failing to comply with the court’s earlier order to start a three-year course for non-MBBS people to practice medicine in rural health centres.

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Issuing the notice, Justice Vipin Sanghi sought the response of the government and the Medical Council of India (MCI) within four weeks.

Petitioner Meenakshi Gautam, filing the contempt petition through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said that on Nov 10, 2010, a division bench of this court had ordered the MCI to implement by March 2011 the Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC) course, approved by the health ministry, but no action has been taken so far.

She contended that life of people living in rural area is in risk because of lack of qualified medical practitioners there.

“The court had given the MCI two months’ time to finalise the curriculum and syllabus of the 3.5-year Primary Healthcare Practitioner Course, the implementation of the introduction of which was approved by the Union of India. The course was named Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC). A further period of two months was given to the ministry of health and family welfare for the enforcement of the same,” the petition said.

Seeking the court’s direction to implement the course, it said the course should have been introduced by March 2011 as per the timeline stipulated by the court in its order but no such course has been introduced as of February 2012.

“The Medical Council of India apparently opposed the course in 2011 and is not willing to notify it,” the petition said.

“The continual delays and lack of initiative by the respondents in implementing a proposal which promises a headway in the realisation of our country’s long held dream of providing at least primary health care to all, is extremely worrisome….,” the petition said.

The petitioner expressed fear that if despite the court’s order specifying the timelines for implementing the course, the ministry is not in a position to introduce it after more than a year from the time directed, then left to itself, it would never do so.