Karnataka HC orders stay on implementing new NMC Medical Institution Regulations

This order comes as a relief to non-medical faculty in medical colleges, who face a risk of being demoted from their teaching posts under the new norms due to their sudden lack of eligibility  
Good to see our plight be recognised, say non-medical teachers | (Pic: EdexLive)
Good to see our plight be recognised, say non-medical teachers | (Pic: EdexLive)

The Karnataka High Court ordered a stalling of the implementation of the guidelines for the new medical colleges under the Medical Institution Regulations of 2023 on Monday, February 26. 

This order was issued in response to a petition filed by a few teaching faculty members at the Rajarajeshwari Medical College and Hospital in Bengaluru, who all hold Medical MSc and PhD degrees. 

The Medical Institution Regulations of 2023 mandate that new teaching faculty in medical colleges, even those for non-medical subjects like Anatomy and Microbiology, must hold MBBS or MD degrees. Further, existing faculty with Medical MSc and PhD degrees are recognised as assistant professors. The petitioners argued that since they do not hold MBBS degrees, they are being demoted under the current regulations. 

Recognising their plea as ”reasonable and justified”, the Karnataka High Court ordered that the Union of India, which is the respondent in the case, to not implement the guidelines for the undergraduate courses till the next date of hearing, which is yet to be specified. 

It must be recalled that Medical MSc and PhD teachers across India have been contesting that the National Medical Commission has been discriminating against them, and perpetuating an “academic apartheid” against Medical MSc and PhD holding teaching faculty through these new regulations. 

Good to see our plight be recognised, say non-medical teachers
Speaking to EdexLive, Dr Arjun Maitra, Founding Member and President of the National Medical MSc Teachers’ Association says that this order has brought a great deal of relief to non-medical teachers across the country. 

“I have had teachers call me all day and express their happiness about the order. We are all hopeful that this would set a blogger precedent and aid our case,” he said. 

The NMMTA, in November 2020, filed a case at the Delhi High Court over the NMC’s discriminatory attitude and policies. This case, which has been pending with the court since November 2020, is listed to be heard in March this year. 

“What we have been facing is clearly wrong, and I am glad that this was recognised by at least one legal authority,” Dr Maitra says. 

Delving deeper into how these regulations impact non-medical teachers in medical colleges, Dr Maitra says that most of them, who have had long-standing careers as teachers, are left with no way forward overnight. “The NMC did not even bother to discuss the new regulations with us, yet it is we who are most impacted by them. All of a sudden, we found ourselves being demoted and without viable employment. What is the point of having a teaching degree like Medical MSc and PhD, if we are not allowed to teach in the first place?” he asks. 

Further, he adds that when the non-teaching faculty tried to discuss this with NMC, they were informed verbally that Medical MSc and PhD holders would be given research jobs. However, this was not confirmed through official notice. 

“There is a clear scarcity of teachers, but the NMC does not want to hire us. It is clear that the NMC is trying to create an artificial crunch in hiring,” he alleges, adding that colleges are forced to comply with the NMC’s norms. 

Due to this, he says, many doctors are facing financial uncertainty. “The NMC does not consider the social and economic backgrounds of non-medical teachers while drafting these norms. Many of us have children and families dependent on us,” he laments. 

“You tell a Medical MSc or PhD holder, who has been teaching for decades and has school-going children that they would be demoted, or not be eligible to teach under the new requirements. What will they do?” he asks. 

“In light of all this, I am truly thankful to these professors and assistant professors in Karnataka, who have bravely fought for not just their rights, but all of us,” he adds.

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