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“Exclusive Rights” to take disciplinary action against doctor’s rests with NMC; not even courts says Supreme Court

New Delhi : The division bench of Justice B R Gavai & Justice Sanjay Karol of the Supreme Court has clarified that only the National Medical Commission (NMC) has the power to punish doctors for professional misconduct, and not even the courts. The court ruled that a doctor’s license cannot be suspended as a penalty in contempt proceedings, as the power to punish a registered medical practitioner for professional misconduct rests exclusively with the NMC.

The Apex court was considering a plea challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court, which upheld the suspension of a doctor’s license in contempt proceedings. The doctor had unauthorizedly constructed a structure that deviated from the approved plans, and multiple complaints were filed against the construction. The Urban Development and Municipal Affairs in West Bengal ordered the demolition of the structure, and a contempt plea was filed against the doctor, leading to the suspension of his license.

The Supreme Court noted that the grant, regulation, and suspension of a medical license are governed by the National Medical Commission Act, 2019. The NMC is responsible for maintaining a medical register for India and enforcing high ethical standards in medical services. The court emphasized that the Act provides an exhaustive mechanism for revoking a medical license for professional misconduct, which includes holding an inquiry and following the principles of audi alterum partem.