It may be recalled that Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Gulam Nabi Azad, had recently admitted that the central government does not have much power to act against the Dental Council of India (DCI) as it has been constituted under an act of Parliament. Such are the powers of the Council that when the Health Minister was asked about the recent scam involving arrest of its members he said that since it elects its own office bearers and is constituted under Parliament act - hence the government has no control over it. It may be recalled that two senior members of the DCI were arrested recently on charges of demanding bribe to provide accreditation to dental colleges. Azad has stated that we can take action only after dissolving it and changing law to assume the powers which has given rise to speculation that the government is considering dissolving the Council.
According to Azad, for the four years he has been the health minister, none of the council members made a courtesy call on him. He agreed that the existing set up is flawed and that the Parliament should dissolve the DCI and the government should bring in a new legislation through ordinance.
Recall that earlier the Government had dissolved the elected Medical Council of India when its then president Dr. Ketan Desai was caught red-handed while accepting illegal gratification of Rs. 2 crores for giving permission of opening a medical college. The government has replaced the elected body with Board of Governors whose extended term is expiring shortly.
The government is bringing an amendment in the act by bringing in the Indian Medical Council Amendment Bill 2013, which will give powers to the government for removing the office bearers if found indulging in corrupt practises and serious charges of moral turpitude. Independent observers point out that if the government is serious in removing malpractices then it should get the Dental Council dissolved and make amendments as early as possible instead of running the affairs of the Council through a puppet Board of Governors as is happening in the case of Medical Council of India. The general impression is that the BOG of Medical Council of India has failed to bring desired results, and some of its members are involved in controversies.
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