The Delhi High Court, on Friday, rapped the Ethics Committee of the Medical Council of India (MCI) for debarring a Professor of Cardiology without proper inquiry into the allegations against him.
The Court was hearing an Appeal filed by the MCI, challenging an order passed by a Single Judge, wherein the order of debarment against one Dr. Anil Grover had been set aside.
Dr. Grover was debarred from undertaking any post for a period of 5 years after it was found by the Ethics Committee that he was working at more than one medical college during the same academic session. Dr. Grover had, however, contended that he had duly resigned from the first College before joining the second College.
After a perusal of the contentions put forth by both sides, the Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sunil Gaur noted that the order of debarment was issued merely because Mr. Grover could not produce cable TV/telephone bills during the hearing. These documents were sought in order to establish his place of residence at the College.
The Court, however, opined that non-production of cable TV/telephone bills cannot justify such debarment. It noted, "It is quite evident from the record that this is not a case where the respondent/doctor was found to be simultaneously working in two medical colleges, as a result of any inspection or based on any oral testimony, or even documents available on the same dates, in both institutions."
The Court went on to rap the MCI for the inadequate enquiry conducted by it and observed, "It must be remembered that the MCI’s Ethics Committee is a domestic tribunal, whose decisions, when accepted lead to adverse civil consequences, impinging on an individual doctor’s ability to practice his profession- and likely to affect her or his livelihood.
Adverse findings also impact the reputation, integrity and professional ability of the individual. Therefore, due care is to be adopted in the fact-finding and quasi-judicial adjudicatory processes, that a conjectural “may have done it” does not result in a “must have done it."
Thereafter, upholding the impugned order, the Court ruled, "In the circumstances of this case, this court is of the opinion that the nature inference drawn by the Ethics Committee of MCI, which led to the decision to debar the respondent doctor from undertaking any post of an administrative nature/ teaching post of similar nature in any university and/or a medical college for a period of five years was not justified by the materials on record. This court is of opinion that a different view from the findings and conclusion of the learned Single Judge, cannot be taken."