Mumbai: Two years after Bombay high court’s ruling directed the state to “expeditiously” conduct elections of the Maharashtra Nursing Council (NMC), nothing has moved. The Council continues to run under the administration of a state government appointee.
Elections to the MNC were last held in 2008, and the tenure of the office bearers ended in December 2013. Section 40(3) of the Maharashtra Nurses Act, 1966, states that in the event of non-constitution of the Council after expiry of the term of its members, the government is empowered to appoint an administrator or board of administrators for not more two years in the aggregate.
“Despite the court direction asking the Maharashtra government to appoint a returning officer and conduct elections, the state has not acted. Many other elections are taking place via postal ballot and this too can be conducted in a similar fashion,” said former president Ramling Mali. The petitioners had submitted that the state may not hold the elections in reasonable time and would continue to administer the Council and thereby undermine the very object and purpose of the act and democratic spirit of the Council’s constitution.
Earlier in 2003 too, the state had not conducted the elections in time. The electorate comprises all registered nurses, which are about 1.5 lakh in the state. Currently, the NMC is administered by the head of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, Dr T P Lahane.
Besides, with the National Nursing and MidWifery Commission taking shape, nursing college principals said that it was important to have a democratic elected body that would ensure fair implementation of the various provisions.