Court asks state to not interfere in MMC elections Win for medical council, which alleged state wasn't allowing its polls (Source: Jyoti Shelar, Mumbai Mirror, September 9, 2016) A week after the state government dissolved the Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), which regulated ethical practices of about 75,000 doctors across the state, the Bombay High Court has asked the state government to let the council management hold elections “without interference“. The council was dissolved over alleged irregularities on August 30, following a report by the state-appointed inquiry panel probing the allegations, including financial mismanagement while renovating the MMC's Chinchpokhli office, grant of concessions under a licence renewal scheme, and holding of an awards function in Nagpur in April. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), whose several members are on the MMC board, had moved the high court saying government interference was not allowing the MMC elections to take place. The court, during its ruling on Wednesday, said, “We will not countenance interference either by the state administrator or either by the department officials of the returning officer, for there is serious allegation that the elections are deliberately delayed and there is undue political interference in the affairs of the MMC.“ The MMC and the state government's tussle goes back several years. The council's officebearers had fought a two-year court battle with state officials to finally assume office in 201 I, and the elections themselves were held after a decade due to various power struggles within the council and government. Incidentally, the inquiry committee to probe alleged irregularities in the MMC was set up around the same time that the state chose to appoint an ayurveda professor, Dr Dilip Wange, as the MMC registrar. The decision had upset allopathic doctors and prompted IMA to move the Bombay High Court. Apart from the contentious issue of crosspathy (a practice that allows an Ayurvedic doctor to prescribe allopathic medicines and vice versa) that Wange advocated and MMC's allopathic doctors and IMA opposed, the council also blamed the government for a deliberate delay in issuing a directive for them to hold new elections, despite being given three reminders before the expiry of the present council's tenure. The IMA secretary, Dr Suhas Pingle, called the recent court order a victory for the MMC. “The order was delivered in the presence of additional chief secretary Medha Gadgil, who now has the responsibility to ensure that the MMC elections are carried out in time and smoothly,” Pingle said. Dr Jayesh Lele, president of the Maharashtra wing of the Indian Medical Association, said Gadgil had been silent all this while regarding fresh elections at the MMC. “The court has objected to any political or administrative interference. This itself says a lot. We wrote to Medha Gadgil twice about the MMC elections but there was no reply,” he said.