HC pulls up Centre, NMC for trying to frustrate its order regarding service of MCI officials

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (PTI) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre and its newly constituted National Medical Commission (NMC) for trying to 'frustrate' judicial orders to maintain status quo with regard to the services of employees and officials of the MCI.

The NMC, in September this year, replaced the Medical Council of India (MCI) as the body regulating medical education and doctors in the country.

A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad was displeased with the Centre and NMC's October 5 decision to shut down the computers of the MCI officials, removing their biometric system of attendance and directing them to vacate the premises by October 7.

The bench said the October 5 decision was a 'prima facie attempt to frustrate' the court's decision of November last year to maintain status quo with regard to services of the MCI officials and therefore, it shall be stayed till the next date of hearing on January 12, 2021.

The court also questioned the Centre and NMC how they were 'frittering' away public money on paying salaries to MCI officials when they are not being allowed to perform any duties.

'Which system permits such payments? Where are you (NMC) getting the funds to do so? How are you (NMC) funded? Have you taken over the funds of the MCI? Is this how you are spending public money? 'We see no good reason why public money is being frittered away in this manner by preventing the petitioners (MCI officials and employees) from discharging their functions,' the bench said.

The strong observations by the court came after the counsel appearing for NMC told the court that it has paid the salaries of September and October to the MCI officials and employees, but they are not being given any work.

While putting on hold the October 5 decision, the court directed that the computers of the MCI officials would be made functional and the biometric system of attendance will be put back in place.

The direction came on a contempt plea moved by 94 MCI employees and officials claiming that the October 5 decision violated the high court's November 11, 2019 order in the petition challenging section 60 of the NMC Act which provides for dissolution of the MCI and vacation of the offices by its officials. PTI HMP SKV RKS RKS