The Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) on Monday told Madras High Court it will not be feasible to conduct its elections through e-voting/online voting since nearly 50,000 doctors, who constitute around one-third of registered medical practitioners in the State, have not submitted basic details such as their mobile phone numbers and e-mail address.
In the grounds of appeal filed against a single judge’s order to consider introducing e-voting for the council elections, the TNMC president K. Senthil said the initiative taken by the council in 2020 to collect the e-mail IDs and mobile phone numbers of all registered medical practitioners did not yield desired results despite sending repeated reminders.
“The leamed judge has failed to note that e-voting with one time password (OTP) has not been used even in many scientifically advanced developed countries such as the U.S., U.K., Germany etc. considering the risk factors. Many medical councils all over the world are still using postal ballot papers for their election,” the TNMC president added.
Further, he brought it to the notice of the court that the council consists of 10 members of whom seven get elected by the registered medical practitioners and the other three were nominated by the government. Since the tenure of the existing elected members comes to an end in February this year, the election process was kickstarted in August last.
However, on a batch of writ petitions filed by individual doctors complaining about the election process, the single judge had found a necessity to revamp the archaic Madras Medical Registration Act of 1914 and the rules framed under it to ensure better functioning of the TNMC in accordance with the present day requirements.
He also ordered that the present office-bearers could continue in their posts until the law was revamped paving way for elections under the new rules. Assailing the order by way of an appeal, the TNMC contended that it had already spent nearly ₹25 lakh for the election through postal ballot and hence the process could be allowed to go on.
When the appeals were listed before the first Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy on Monday, Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram said revamping the law might take a minimum of three months and hence the election process need not be postponed till then.
The judges, on the other hand, said it might not be advisable to allow the elections to be conducted as per the existing rules when the government was inclined to revisit those rules. Therefore, they simply adjourned the writ appeals filed by TNMC by three months in order to grant enough time for the revamping of the rules.