New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to Medical Council of India (MCI) and sought reply for the delay in the commencement of Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC) course for practicing medicine in primary health centres in rural areas.

In a contempt petition filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of Meenakshi Gautam, it was stated that owing to abject lack of medical practitioners in rural areas, the lives of those living in rural areas are at risk. He said a division bench of the High Court on November 10, 2010 had ordered the MCI to begin BRHC course, approved by the Health Ministry, by March 2011 but nothing has been done so far.

Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notices on a plea to begin contempt of court proceedings against MCI and Centre and sought their replies within four weeks.

The petitioner said that the on March 2011 Union Ministry of Health Department gave confirmation on BRHC courses. However, a year after its introduction, there has been no formal announcement regarding the admission procedure.

The court had given the MCI two months to finalise the curriculum and syllabus of the three-and-half-year-long Primary Healthcare Practitioner Course, approved by the Union government. To practice in primary health care centres, a person has to complete the course and undergo a six-month internship thereafter.

The central government introduced BRHC course to improve the deplorable condition of health sector in rural areas. The main aim of the course was to recruit students in villages in order to provide medical services in villages.