Medical education minister orders review of existing laws to make them more stringent; counselling to start for students, unit heads
Dr Payal Tadvi committed suicide on May 22
Following the death of Dr. Payal Tadvi, state medical education minister, the Directorate of Medical Education and Research and Maharashtra University of Health Sciences are keen on amending the Anti-Ragging Act. State Medical Education Minister Girish Mahajan said, "As the Anti-Ragging Act is a central Act, a 3-member committee will be submitting their recommendations to the government."
"We want to make the Act more stringent and ensure no student has to ever go through such a situation," said the minister. He added that he met Dr. Payal's parents, but declined their demand to suspend the dean, "I met her parents, a few protestors and the hospital staff, and they were demanding the suspension of the dean, which prima facie we find no reason for, as he was unaware of any letter written by the parents; neither had anyone met him. The institution has already suspended the unit head and three girls involved in the case and on the basis of the findings of internal committee, we might take further action, which could include writing to the medical council, demanding the cancellation of their registration."
State medical education minister Girish Mahajan said the laws will be strengthened to ensure no student has to ever go through this situation. File pic
"The internal committee of Nair hospital submitted their report on Tuesday evening to MUHS and we are confident that just like Dr. Bhakti Mehare [one of the accused], others involved will also be arrested in the next two days," he said.
Explaining the three-member committee set up to give the recommendations, Dr T P Lahane, director, DMER, said, "The committee consists of me, Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM hospital, and Dr Deelip Mhaisekar, Vice Chancellor of MUHS. We will study the existing law in the next 10-12 days and submit our recommendations to the state government." "Being a central Act, the Anti Ragging Act has been accepted by all medical universities in the country. The state government would make necessary proposals to the central government for bringing amendments to the existing Act - which is already stringent - wherein the admission of any student found to be indulging in ragging can be revoked," he added.
The University Grant Commission, vide its letter dated June 17, 2009, had reiterated the ban on ragging in institutions of higher education. Prior to the central Act, Maharashtra had its own Prohibition of Ragging Act, 1999. Dr. Lahane further said, "We have been seeing cases of ragging with first and second year MBBS students, but this is the first time I have come across a case wherein postgraduate students indulged in ragging, which has been taken very seriously." "As an immediate measure, we will be conducting a mandatory counselling session every six months for postgraduate students as well as their unit heads, so that such incidents are not repeated in the future," he said.
Nair committee submits report
Dr. Ramesh Bharmal, dean of Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair hospital confirmed that the internal committee has submitted a confidential report to MUHS with their findings. "The committee has not shared their findings with me. The committee questioned nearly 30 people, directly or indirectly associated with Dr. Payal. The submission made by the internal committee will be discussed by senior MUHS members and accordingly, they may intimate DMER and the government." Dr. Bharmal said the suspension orders for the unit head and accused trio were sent on Tuesday.