Reacting to concerns that approximately 70 per cent of medical colleges in the country were not providing the mandatory stipend to MBBS interns, the Supreme Court on Monday strongly criticised the National Medical Commission (NMC). A panel comprised of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra has expressed strong disapproval, questioning the actions of the National Medical Commission. They have raised concerns over the gruelling working conditions of young doctors who are required to work excessively long shifts, stating that this situation is comparable to a form of bonded labour.
The Supreme Court pointed out that private medical colleges, which often charge hefty donations or capitation fees during student admissions, were failing to fulfil their obligation to provide stipends to MBBS interns, and questioned the NMC’s role as a regulator.
These observations arose after a lawyer’s claim that 70 per cent of the medical colleges in the country were not adhering to the stipend requirement for MBBS interns.
The NMC’s representative requested time to gather the necessary information and report back to the panel, a request that was granted.
On September 15, the court had instructed the NMC, the top governing body for medical education in the country, to investigate allegations that 70 per cent of medical colleges were not paying stipends to MBBS interns.