New Delhi: A Supreme Court-appointed panel accused the Medical Council of India (MCI) of negating its aim to ensure “transparency” in assessment of medical colleges by not complying with its direction in selecting the inspectors for assessing the institutions.
The Oversight Committee (OC), formed by the apex court to oversee the functioning of the country’s medical education regulator MCI, reaction came following reports that it had legalised more than 3,000 admissions in 26 medical colleges last year, ignoring the recommendation of its own inspectors, who found the institutes lacking in basic facilities.
It said that the assessors were not appointed by them but by the MCI, which was given a list of about 497 inspectors from reputed national institutes, who were to be selected using “random number”.
The OC said that it was upto the MCI to ensure that none of the inspectors or assessors conducted more than three assessments each in one year.
While three assessors were to be selected from the committee’s approved list and one from the MCI database, the co-ordinator was to be selected from the OC approved list.
“An examination by the OC revealed that in eight instances there was no assessor (out of 4) from the OC approved list, while in five cases, there was only one assessor from the OC approved list.
“In 16 instances, there were two assessors (out of 4) from the OC approved list. There was, therefore, non- compliance with the OC directives on the above count, in 29 out of 33 assessments,” the OC, headed by Justice R M Lodha said in a statement.
The guidelines of OC, it said, also required that MCI to ensure that the convenor should always be from the OC approved list.
“This was not followed by MCI in 25 out of 33 assessments,” the statement said.
MCI officials, including its president J Mehta, however could not be contacted for comments.
The OC said that it had instructed MCI to restrict the number of assessments conducted by assessors to not more than three each in one year to ensure “transparency and objectivity” in the crucial area of assessments by the MCI.
Despite this, it said, the MCI entrusted assessments ranging between 20 at the minimum to 68 at the maximum to 37 assessors in the period January 1, 2015 to January 31, 2017.
It claimed that 11 assessors were entrusted by the MCI with inspections in each case ranging between 40 at the minimum and 68 at the maximum, which “negated” the intention of OC to ensure objectivity and transparency in assessments of medical colleges.
“The system followed by MCI in violation of the instruction of OC raises questions on the efficacy of using ‘random number’ in the selection of assessors,” it said.
The OC said that 32 institutions have been recommended for disapproval by the MCI which has been endorsed by the health ministry but majority of these 32 institutions have represented to the Ministry and the OC, against the way the inspections had been carried out by the MCI.
“The behaviour and conduct of assessment was more like harassment than assessment. Some of the assessments have been carried out close to the government holiday. In some cases, the copy of assessment report was denied to the college,” the OC statement said, reproducing the representations.