In a shocking step to curb freedom of expression, Indian Medical Association — the prestigious medical body of doctors — suspended two doctors for raising questions on several alleged malpractices. One of the suspended doctors is a 70-year-old lady doctor who had approached the charity commissioner.
A suspension letter (dna has a copy of it) was issued on March 17. The IMA — an umbrella body of medical professionals — has not given any reason for the suspension in the letter.
IMA-Mumbai has around 10,000 members and as a medical body it plays a key role in helping government health officials take important policy decisions.
Dr Mala Nevrekar, a family physician who practises in Andheri, said: "I am a regular to the charity commissioner's office. I happen to verbally discuss the election procedures in IMA and how there needs to be a manual election than a computerised one. In the general body meeting earlier this month, the IMA blamed me of approaching the charity commissioner and complaining."
According to Dr Nevrekar who has been associated with IMA for the past 20 years, she has been raising questions on the way the IMA has been functioning for the past few years. "On and off, I have raised questions regarding the funding and utilisation of funds by the office bearers. The office bearers don't inform us about many medical camps and programmes held outside Mumbai. I have raised this issue too.
IMA office bearers were never happy with them being cross questioned."
Dr Nevrekar added that since the IMA failed to give a proper reason behind the suspension, she would approach the charity commisisoner and challenge it.
While Dr Nevrekar was verbally informed about the reasons behind her suspension, Dr Ashok Balsekar, past president of IMA-Mumbai (west branch), is still clueless. "I have served the organisation as a president and it hurts me that I was suspended without a reason. I have written a letter asking them on what basis I was suspended."
Dr Balsekar claims that his attitude of calling spade a spade was the reason behind his suspension.
"I have questioned the election process in IMA. Only a selective few were getting elected and there were a few discrepancies. Everyone has the right to express their opinions and I did the same," he added.
Refusing to give reasons behind the suspension order, Dr Parthiv Sanghvi, secretary of IMA-Mumbai (west branch), said: "It is an internal matter of the association. The two doctors were found violating ethics, rules and regulations laid down by the IMA-Mumbai (west branch)."
The decision to suspend Dr Nevrekar and Dr Balsekar was taken in IMA-Mumbai West Branch's general body meeting on March 9, 2014
With immediate effect
The suspended doctors are Dr Mala Nevrekar (in pic) and Dr Ashok Balsekar
The letter of suspension was issued on March 17
The letter does not specify the reason behind suspension
The suspension is with immediate effect
The suspended doctors will not be able to avail privileges like insurance policy
They cannot participate in an IMA forum to advise government health officials