Delhi Medical Council should have more presence on ground to deal with quacks: HC

The Delhi High Court on Friday said the Delhi Medical Council should be more effective and have its presence on ground to deal with the problem of quacks and sought its stand on verification of doctors.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan issued notice to the National Medical Commission (NMC) as well as the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) on a PIL on the issue of fake and unqualified doctors and asked them to file their replies.

“This is a problem that the society is facing at large… DMC has to be more effective. The fact that DMC is not having the desired impact is a problem,” observed the court.

“Your control at the ground level is not there it seems… Today your presence is not felt at ground. You have to be a lot more present on ground,” it added.

The court also issued notice to the Delhi government and the Centre on the public interest litigation (PIL) by five persons, including a minor boy who suffered brain injury at birth due to “unqualified” doctors.

The bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna, said the council has to supervise all doctors and suggested that their names can be published in public domain so that “everyone can cross-check” their credentials.

“We may be inclined to direct that verification can be done by a committee… Take instructions,” the court said.

“Some process of verification may have to be initiated,” stated the court.

The court also said a change has to “come from within” and it cannot be “superimposed” on the authorities.

“You have to see that the degree of the doctor actually matches the practice. He may be having an MBBS degree it the practice may be different, which cannot be allowed,” stated the court as it asked DMC to take action so that its presence is felt at ground level and corrupt practices are taken care of.

Lawyers Praveen Khattar and T Singhdev, appearing for DMC and NMC, respectively, said that the petition did not mention that certain litigation was ongoing between the authorities and some of the petitioners.

The counsel for the petitioners said all details have been mentioned and argued that unqualified doctors were doing a crime and the process of verification must be dirceted to be undertaken.

“People are dying in top hospitals of Delhi. Quacks are sitting,” the lawyer argued.

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The petitioners before the court are the minor, his mother, a class IV employee of NDMC, who was stated to have lost his daughter to medical malpractice and two lawyers and have sought directions to the authorities to conduct a time bound verification of medical qualifications and educational certificates of all the medical practitioners practising across the NCT of Delhi.

The petitioners, represented by lawyers Sachin Jain and Ajay Kumar, said in their plea that the fact that a large number of fake doctors are practising in Delhi is a testament to the failure of the regulatory body in performing the critical function for which it was constituted, i.e., to ensure that no unqualified person practices modern scientific medicine.

“The persons who profess to be doctors, but do not either have the educational qualifications or degree certificates on the basis of which they could have lawfully granted registration as a medical professional, pose a grave danger to the health of the public at large and violate the fundamental right of Right to Life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the petition said.

“It is unfortunate, that several victims have lost their lives before this fake doctor scam came to light. It is clear that DMC and its officials are hand in glove with such fake doctors, as without their assistance these fake doctors could not have been registered as doctors or continue to keep practising as doctors,” it alleged.

The matter would be heard next on January 24.

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