RP Meena, an IPS officer of Odisha cadre, is the new secretary of the Medical Council of India (MCI), the statutory body regulating medical colleges, affiliations of new colleges and registration of doctors. He was currently director in the central vigilance office of the health ministry.
MCI additional secretary Prasanna Raj confirmed the development. Last week, Governance Now reported that MCI secretary Sanjay Srivastava was quitting due to alleged harassment from board chairman Dr KK Talwar. [Read the full story here: Another MCI secretary on way out?]
Dr Talwar had faced similar accusations from Srivastava’s predecessor, Dr Sangeeta Sharma who quit in March 2012, and deputy secretary Reena Nayyar.
"Meena will be the third secretary in two years. This reflects poorly on MCI," said a senior officer in the council on condition of anonymity.
It is unusual that an IPS officer has been picked for the post, as several officers refused to take up the job. Sube Singh, deputy secretary in the council, was one of them.
"How can an IPS officer without knowledge of the field of medical education can run the council?" asked retired additional secretary Dr Prem Kumar, who served as officer on special duty when Dr Sarin was chairman of the MCI.
Last year, Dr Sharma was removed on the ground that she did not fulfill eligibility criteria, especially that she did not have 15 years of medical teaching experience.
Dr Sharma said, "They were so not satisfied with my experience, and now they have brought an officer who does not have medical background. Will he be able to understand the requirements of post-graduation courses and super-speciality courses?"
In 2010, as also in 1990, the MCI was dissolved and the health ministry appointed its secretary.
Dr Sharma indeed has the requisite teaching experience too, but authorities do not consider her teaching stint at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Science (IHBAS).
"Dr Sharma was removed on the ground of trivial issues like not counting her teaching experience at IHBAS since it is only an institute and not a medical college; but on the other hand an IPS officer with no medical background and no teaching experience is being given the top administrative post in MCI," said Amrendra Sharan, a former additional solicitor general and senior lawyer of the supreme court.