The Punjab government declared the elections of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) held in 2011 null and void and ordered for the conduct of fresh elections.
The PMC membership of 10 elected members stands cancelled after the orders.
Hussan Lal, secretary to government of Punjab and director, Department of Medical Education and Research (DMER), issued orders on Friday which stated, "The election process lacked transparency and was vitiated. The election of 10 members to the PMC held in 2011 is held void and steps shall be taken immediately for conduct of fresh elections."
The order was issued after the inquiry in the case of 'Dr Arun Mitra and others versus state of Punjab and others' on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Dr Parminder Singh Brar from Khanna, who had challenged the elections, said, "Two inquiries have been conducted in the matter and both the times, the elections were held null and void. After this inquiry too, justice prevailed and now the department should ensure elections at the earliest in a fair manner."
Elected members unhappy
However, the elected members have decided to approach the high court against the order. Dr Bal Charanjit Singh Bhatia from Gurdaspur, who was elected member of PMC-2011, said, "All the allegations were made against the voting system and not the individuals. Moreover, the inquiry did not involve all the people related to elections like returning officer and others. We will approach the high court again and will demand inclusion of all these members in the inquiry."
He added that after the cancellation of membership of the 10 elected individuals, there would be no purpose of the PMC which would have only ex-officio members.
The elected members will hold a meeting on Monday in Chandigarh to discuss the issue and further course of action.
PMC has a total of 20 members out of which 10 are nominated while the remaining are elected. The 10 elected members, whose membership has been cancelled, are---Dr GS Gill, Dr Yogeshwar Sood and Dr HS Mann from Jalandhar, Dr Balcharanjit Singh Bhatia from Gurdaspur, Dr Vijay Kumar and Dr Om Parkash Singh Kande from Patiala, Dr RC Garg from Barnala, Dr Arun Mitra, Dr Kulwant Singh and Dr Sunil Katyal from Ludhiana.
The case related to elections conducted by the PMC in September 2011 after which Dr Parminder Singh Brar, who lost by 28 votes, challenged the elections in the Punjab and Haryana high court in the same year.
On the directions of the court, the then health secretary Raj Kamal Chaudhary declared the elections void and ordered for fresh elections after inquiry in 2013.
However, the 10 elected members approached the high court which directed the health department to conduct a fresh inquiry after considering both sides on July 23, 2014.
This is for the first time in the history of PMC, which exists from 1916, that the membership of elected members has been cancelled and the council has only nominated or ex-officio members.
Dr Parminder Singh Brar had alleged irregularities and corrupt practices in the conduct of elections on the following basis--
* 108 ballot papers were counted more than once, photocopies of the ballot papers were recovered
* Few doctors received more than one ballot paper, complainant submitted 161 such names received under the Right to Information Act (RTI)
* There were only 13,864 voters registered but few ballot paper had numbers such as 90,987, 56,220, 54,110
* Bogus votes were polled with 'X' serial number and with no name of the doctor. There were 74 such votes
* After two rounds of electronic counting, manual counting of votes was held.