Dean removed after medical students take ‘Charak Shapath’ in Madurai

Tamil Nadu’s Health Department takes exception to replacing Hippocratic Oath

May 01, 2022 04:10 pm | Updated 07:17 pm IST - CHENNAI/MADURAI

Tamil Nadu’s Department of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday relieved Madurai Medical College Dean A. Rathinavel of his post and placed him in “vacancy reserve”, a day after the first-year students of the college took the ‘Maharishi Charak Shapath’ (a modified oath), instead of the Hippocratic Oath, during the ‘white coat ceremony’.

The Department said in a statement that replacing the Hippocratic Oath, taken for long by students joining medical course and doctors getting into practice, was condemnable.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Ma. Subramanian has asked Director of Medical Education (DME) R. Narayanababu to initiate a departmental inquiry.

Sources in Madurai said the Dean was “negligent” in allowing students to take the Sanskrit oath. Mr. Rathinavel was appointed as the Dean of Government Rajaji Hospital (attached to Madurai Medical College) in May 2021.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) had recently recommended that the Hippocratic Oath be replaced with the ‘Maharishi Charak Shapath’, drawing criticism from several quarters, including the medical fraternity.

In its March 31, 2022 circular on the new Competency Based Medical Education for Undergraduate Course Curriculum and the guidelines for its implementation, the NMC said the “modified Maharishi Charak Shapath is recommended when a candidate is introduced to medical education”. The circular also included a “brief transliteration (sic) of Maharishi Charak Shapath”.

The statement from the Department said the DME would issue a circular, instructing the heads of departments of medical colleges and hospitals to ensure that only the Hippocratic Oath was administered in future.

On Saturday, Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, Minister for Registration P. Moorthi, Madurai Collector Aneesh Sekhar, MLAs A. Venkatesan and M. Boominathan and Vice-Principal V. Dhanalakshmi were present when the students took the modified oath.

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