Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Saturday came down heavily on the Medical Council of India (MCI) for taking an anti-student stand when seats in medical colleges were cancelled by the Supreme court."Instead of supporting our plea in court, I am surprised, the MCI opposed it. This makes me wonder whose side they are on," Harsh Vardhan said in his reaction to the Supreme Court's July 31 order which quashed the ministry's plea for modification of the time schedule for granting approvals to new medical colleges and renewal of permission to existing seats in old colleges.This has led to a loss of 1,170 medical seats in the 2014-15 academic year.
"For years, it was an open secret that MCI was looking the other way as medical colleges rampantly flouted regulations. Suddenly, this year they have struck. But why are they not punishing the managements?" the minister asked."The students have been punished. For most of those affected, the dream of becoming a doctor has evaporated as they would be forced by circumstances to pursue studies in other disciplines. On the other hand the managements can rectify the problems by the next year. This to me is inhuman," he said.The minister said that the best solution, keeping in mind the national interest, would have been to admit the students and then pressurise the college managements to implement the necessary steps."Effectively MCI did not keep the sentiment of students in mind. It wanted to punish students instead of the college managements. I had personally requested the MCI president to think of the fate of the students instead of placing a premium on the frivolous deficiencies of the colleges. But it had no impact on her," he said.