Dissolution Of West Bengal Medical Council For Not Holding Any Elections Since 1988: Calcutta High Court

The West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) was ordered to be dissolved as of July 31, in the case of Dr. Kunal Saha v. West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) and another (W.P.A. No. 8140 of 2022), and the Calcutta High Court further ordered that a newly duly-elected Medical Council should be formed as soon as possible after that date, preferably by October 31 2022.

Brief Case Facts: A West Bengal’s medical practitioner Dr. Kunal Saha, petitioned the court, arguing that the Medical Council of West Bengal’s most recent election’s five-year statutory term expired on July 15, 2018, and that no elections have been held subsequently. It was further noted that a Medical Council is to be established in accordance with the Bengal Medical Act of 1914, which calls for the election of the majority of its members from a broad range of the medical, academic, and administrative cadres, with the State Government’s nomination of the remaining members.

Judgement: Observing that such a mechanism, which gives the electoral process precedence over nomination, ensures the underlying democratic spirit in the constitution of such council, the Court expressed the opinion that such an election process sustains the democratic spirit in the constitution of such council. From a different angle, such an approach serves as an essential check and balance to the Medical Council’s extensive authority, which has the potential to have an impact not only on the entire medical community but also on society as a whole, given the significant role that medical practitioners, the intelligentsia, academics, scholars, and those associated with them at all levels play in society.

It was also asserted that as the Council is autonomous and not directly under the authority of the State, transparency and the democratic principles are of the highest significance in its establishment. The current West Bengal Medical Council was dissolved by the court with effect from July 31, 2022 on the grounds that it was operating unlawfully and against the letter and spirit of the law. In the meanwhile, the State government was instructed to create an ad hoc council in accordance with the applicable Bengal Medical Act, 1914 provisions for the specific purpose of holding the Council’s upcoming elections. It was mandated that the ad hoc body begin operations on August 1, 2022, and afterwards. A deadline of October 31, 2022 was set for finishing the formalities and obtaining the essential paperwork for the newly elected Medical Council.

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