New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central government to inform it about the status of the panel to replace the court-appointed oversight committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, to oversee the Medical Council of India's (MCI) functioning.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar said there must be an alternative mechanism to deal with the problems of medical colleges, which will be a substitute of the oversight committee.
The Central government should set up a panel to replace the panel set up last year by the court, to oversee the MCI's affairs till the government puts in place an alternate mechanism, it said.
The government sought time till Tuesday to respond on names for the alternate committee.
The court was dealing with the question whether the Supreme Court-appointed three-member oversight committee will continue to look after the affairs of MCI.
The court had on May 2 last year set up the committee to function for a period of one year or till a suitable mechanism was brought in by the government in its place.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for some medical colleges, told the court that till date, no alternative mechanism has been put in place despite the fact that the oversight panel was to function for only one year or till a suitable mechanism was evolved.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, said the tenure of the oversight committee should be extended by one more year or till the time the government comes out with a mechanism to deal with the issues relating to functioning of MCI.
The government told the court that it had constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Niti Aayog Vice Chairman and a National Medical Commission Bill has been drafted, which will replace the Indian Medical Council Act.
It had earlier told the apex court that it had taken steps to put the alternative mechanism in place and there was no need now for the oversight committee to continue.