Mumbai: JJ doctors allege unfair practices in medical exam

Jun 14, 2016, 08:37 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Three senior doctors have alleged that the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences shows bias while appointing examiners, which they say could end up giving unfair advantages to students

Three senior doctors attached to Grant Medical College and JJ Group of hospitals have alleged unfair practice in the selection of examiners for conducting Doctor of Medicine (MD) examinations. The doctors said that the system was not only discriminating between full-time and honorary faculty members, but was possibly also giving unfair advantage to some students.

The doctors complained that although they had been teaching students and treating patients at Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital for decades, they were deprived of a chance to be examiners. File pic
The doctors complained that although they had been teaching students and treating patients at Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital for decades, they were deprived of a chance to be examiners. File pic

Doctors Wiqar Shaikh (Professor), Hemant Gupta (Associate Professor) and PS Tampi (Assistant Professor) are all honorary faculty members attached to the medical college on a regular contractual basis. They alleged that that the system discriminates against them when appointing examiners, consistently preferring to appoint full-time faculty members instead. Out of the three of them, only Dr Shaikh was selected as invigilator once last year, but has not been reappointed this year.

This has now become a prestige issue, with the three doctors questioning why the institute is depriving them of the opportunity to become invigilators too. These allegations were made in a letter to the Maharashtra Governor, who is also Chancellor of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in Nashik, which conducts graduate and post-graduate medical examinations in the state. “We feel that it is unfair to other post graduate teachers like us to be deprived of becoming examiners. We are unhappy that one of us (Dr Wiqar Shaikh) who was appointed as examiner in 2015 has not been reappointed this year, despite the fact that a fair examination was conducted, with no complaints from either the students or university,” the letter stated.

Dr Tampi said, “Whenever it come to examinations, we honorary doctors are given step motherly treatment, as the full-timers get appointed as examiners. We are expected to render our services for teaching and treating patients, but are being deprived of an opportunity to become university examiners.”

Unfair advantage?
More importantly, however, the letter claims that one full-time doctor in particular — Dr V K Joglekar, professor and head of the department of medicine — has been selected as examiner repeatedly over the years. “He has been made examiner more than 20 times for the MD examinations. Each professor has students under him, and the chances of an examiner favouring their own student cannot be ruled out, unless the examiners are changed in rotation,” said
Dr Shaikh.

However, Dr Joglekar rubbished the claim that he had been appointed 20 times. “I was selected as the examiner for the PG students in the year 2010 and 2011. Subsequently in 2012 and 2013, I was not the examiner. Again in 2014 and 2015, I was appointed as the examiner for PG students. The university appointed me on rotation basis every two years, as per the guidelines of the Medical Council of India.”

However, he confirmed that he received an appointment letter this year as well, making it the third consecutive year. He added that he was not keen on taking up the post of examiner, however. “It hampers my daily routine of examining patients and teaching students. But if the university insists, I will take up the examiner role for this year too.”

MUHS says...
The controller of examinations at MUHS, Dr KD Chavan said, “We follow the Medical Council of India’s guidelines and the board selects the examiners for not more than two consecutive years, on a rotation basis. I will have to look into this matter.”

But Dr Shaikh countered that if examiners are selected for two years, why wasn’t he appointed this year after serving on the panel last year? “I have served the government for decades, both teaching students and treating patients. I am entitled to conduct exams for MBBS and MD students. This year, I have been selected as the chief examiner for conducting MBBS examination, but I am deprived of being the examiner for the MD examination,” he said.

University speak
MUHS Vice Chancellor and Professor, Dr Deelip Mhaisekar said, “As per the guidelines of the MCI, the board selects examiners on the basis of seniority and merit. In some cases, the head of the department becomes the examiner by default.” He also hit back at the complainants and said, “I am surprised as to how they learnt that their names are not in the list of examiners, especially when the examination is scheduled two months from now. Moreover, how did they learn about the appointment of Dr Joglekar? Under the University Act, examination issues are confidential and cannot be discussed or leaked out to anybody.”

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