Supreme Court
While hearing its ongoing batch of petitions challenging demonetisation, the supreme court refused to extend dates for exemption of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes for certain services, while emphasizing that the government is the best judge,[Representational Image]IANS

After the Supreme Court lashed out at the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the government for failing to regulate medical education in the country, the Union Health Minister, JP Nadda, informed the Parliament on Tuesday that the panel constituted to look into MCI functioning would submit its report within a month.

The Supreme Court on Monday criticised the MCI and the government by saying that medical education in the country was at its lowest ebb and that corruption was deep-rooted in the system.

"It is to be borne in mind is that the occupation of education cannot be treated at par with other economic activities. In this field, the State cannot remain a mute spectator and has to necessarily step in, in order to prevent exploitation, privatisation and commercialisation by the private sector," the Supreme Court bench said, according to the Times of India.

Meanwhile Nadda, while replying to queries in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, said a committee has already been formed on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which would suggest the measures needed to improve the functioning of the MCI, the Press Trust of India reported.

"The Supreme Court has given its judgement. We had one-and-a-half months ago formed a committee to look into the activities of MCI and suggest measures for improvement and what needs to be done there. The committee has to give its report by May-end," he said. The four-member committee, headed by NITI Aayog vice chairman Arvind Pangariya, has been asked to recommend measures for restructuring the medical education regulator and bring overall improvement in its functioning.

The Supreme Court said there is widespread corruption in the MCI and that its members, who come from commercialised corporate backgrounds, were found involved in unlawful practices. It further said the law regarding medical education in the country needs to be amended as the Centre has no power under the current system to disagree with the MCI on policy matters.

The Supreme Court also appointed a committee chaired by the former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, to oversee the functioning of MCI. The committee has been asked to function till the government comes up with a new mechanism to regulate the functioning of the MCI or amend the existing laws.

In March, a parliamentary standing committee on health slammed the MCI for failing to regulate the medical education sector in the country. The committee, constituted on Sept. 1, 2015 to review the functioning of the health department, tabled its report in the Rajya Sabha stating that the MCI has been violating ethics while providing licences to the country's medical colleges.