Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: A petition was filed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the quashing of a public notice dated 24-12-2023, issued by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) mandating that any person practicing modern scientific medicine (Allopathy) in Delhi must be registered with the DMC as per the Delhi Medical Council Act, 1997 (DMC Act), also requiring medical establishments to ensure the validity of DMC registration of doctors before utilizing their services and to ensure renewal of registration every five years. A division bench of Manmohan, CJ., Pritam Singh Arora, J., held that the public notice issued by the Delhi Medical Council (DMC) mandating registration for medical practitioners in Delhi is within the jurisdiction conferred upon the DMC by the Delhi Medical Council Act, 1997 (DMC Act). The Court found that the Notice does not conflict with the provisions of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 (NMC Act).

Counsel for the petitioner argued that this mandatory registration imposes unnecessary burdens on practitioners already registered with other State Medical Councils. He contended that registration with one State’s Medical Council should suffice, citing the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, which allowed practitioners to be automatically registered across India upon registration with any State medical council. However, the respondents argued that the notice is essential to curb professional misconduct by medical practitioners in Delhi. He cited a separate PIL addressing the rise of fake practitioners and asserted that the notice aligns with the DMC Act’s provisions and the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 (NMC Act).

The Court examined the legal framework under both the DMC Act and the NMC Act. It concluded that registration with a State Medical Council is mandatory for practitioners to practice, as outlined in the Regulations of 2023 under the NMC Act. The court also highlighted provisions allowing practitioners to register with multiple State Medical Councils. Furthermore, the court noted that the legislative intent is to restrict practitioners to the states where they are registered, ensuring accountability and enabling disciplinary actions by the respective State Medical Councils.

The Court remarked that “Sections 15(2)(b) and 27 of the repealed IMC Act permitted a medical practitioner enrolled on a State Medical Register or the Indian Medical Register to practice medicine in ‘any State’ or ‘any part of India’. Pertinently, the said expressions have been omitted in the corresponding provisions of Sections 33 and 34 of the NMC Act. The absence of the said expressions in the NMC Act evidences that the intent of the legislature is to restrict the medical practitioners from practicing in States or Union Territories where they are not registered. Similarly, by expressly enabling registrations with more than one State Medical Council under the Regulations of 2023, the legislative intent is clearly intended to restrict the practice of medical practitioners in the State(s) in which they are registered with the concerned State Medical Council.”

In dismissing the writ petition, the Court found that the notice issued by the DMC was within its jurisdiction and does not conflict with the NMC Act. It further affirmed that the consequence of registration with the DMC is its jurisdiction to take disciplinary actions against practitioners in Delhi for any misconduct.

[Dr Namit Gupta v. Delhi Medical Council, 2024 SCC OnLine Del 1350, decided on 22-02-2024]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Dr. MC Gupta, Advocate with Petitioner in person

Mr. Praveen Khattar, Advocate for R1/DMC Mr. T. Singhdev, Mr. Aabhaas Sukhramani, Mr. Abhijit Chakravarty, Mr. Tanishq Srivastava, Mr. Bhanu Gulati, Ms. Anum Hussain, Ms. Ramanpreet Kaur, Advocates for R2/NMC

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