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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 783-784

AIOS Constitution Reforms - Change is the Secret Sauce for Success

Editor, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Centre for Sight, Road No 2, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Web Publication16-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Santosh G Honavar
Editor, Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, Centre for Sight, Road No 2, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_604_21

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How to cite this article:
Honavar SG. AIOS Constitution Reforms - Change is the Secret Sauce for Success. Indian J Ophthalmol 2021;69:783-4

How to cite this URL:
Honavar SG. AIOS Constitution Reforms - Change is the Secret Sauce for Success. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Aug 8];69:783-4. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2021/69/4/783/311397

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

Established in 1930, the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS) is one of the biggest and oldest professional medical organizations in the world. It is, in fact, the largest ophthalmological society of permanent members with a life membership strength of over 23,000. AIOS is governed by democratically elected office bearers. An election is held every year for the post of Vice President and every 3 years for other positions. AIOS is bound to follow the diktats of the Societies Registration Act, 1860, under which it is registered in Delhi. The archaic Societies Act itself was promulgated by the British 160 years ago and has not changed with the changing times.

  AIOS Constitution – A Product of Collective Wisdom, but Needs a Change Top

AIOS has a Constitution and a set of bylaws that govern its functions.[1] The Constitution has been a product of the collective wisdom of AIOS leadership and members. While the provisions of the Constitution were possibly most appropriate at the time that it was adapted, current circumstances and contemporary thought processes mandate a change. A change is essential to fulfill the surging aspirations of the members of the society, diversify the leadership, provide optimal regional balance in governance, allow new blood, new ideas, and new growth to come in, and optimally support the exponential growth of the specialty.

  Yesterday's Logic is the Rate Limiting Factor in Progress! Top

Some constitutional provisions that need an expeditious change to broaden the leadership base of the society and help provide regional representation include 1. Restriction of the term for each office (one term of 3 years may be ideal); 2. Limiting the number of elected posts that each member can hold (this will help infuse new blood into leadership positions); 3. Removal of restriction that the Secretary and Treasurer should be from the same city (this is redundant since most of the governance is now online and physical meeting of the Secretary and the Treasurer is not necessary for normal functioning of the society). This monopolistic restriction, coupled with the rule that the contestants should have been members of the AIOS Managing Committee for a term, grossly limits potential contestants to only city-states such as Delhi or other major cosmopolitan cities, and thus, causes a regional imbalance. The Secretary and Treasurer have been from Delhi for over 25 years now, except for a brief 3-year stint by a team from Mumbai; 4. Removal of the restriction that a member of the host society of the annual conference cannot contest for a major post in that year (this is again redundant because the AIOS election is now online). There are several other important changes, which have been recommended by the Babu Rajendran committee.

  How Difficult is the Change? Top

It is relatively easy to change the bylaws, and that is periodically happening. However, changing the provisions of the Constitution is not only an expensive and time-consuming process, but is also like to be an exercise in futility if we were to go with the current provisions of Section 12 of the Societies Registration Act.[2] The said Act states that “Whenever it shall appear to the governing body of any society registered under this Act, which has been established for any particular purpose or purposes, that it is advisable to alter, extend, or abridge such purpose to or for other purposes within the meaning of this Act, or to amalgamate such society either wholly or partially with any other society, such governing body may submit the proposition to the members of the society in a written or printed report, and may convene a special meeting for the consideration thereof according to the regulations of the society; but no such proposition shall be carried into effect unless such report shall have been delivered or sent by post to every member of the society ten days previous to the special meeting convened by the governing body for the consideration thereof, nor unless such proposition shall have been agreed to by the votes of three-fifths of the members delivered in person or by proxy, and confirmed by the votes of three-fifths of the members present at a second special meeting convened by the governing body at an interval of one month after the former meeting.” Sending the proposition of every amendment by mail to all the members is expensive and outdated because even banks and registered companies currently follow the standards of secure e-Governance and legally communicate by e-mails and text messages. Ensuring a three-fifths response by the members for every constitutional amendment is also practically impossible. Earlier attempts at Constitution amendment (as proposed by the Babu Rajendran Committee) have been futile because of the inflexible Section 12.

  What is AIOS Doing About It? Top

The current AIOS leadership has spiritedly taken up the task of engaging in Constitution amendments. The first step, as proposed by the 2020 Constitution Reforms Committee, and approved at the Special AIOS General Body Meeting, is to amend Clause 28 of the current AIOS Constitution to allow for an easier and more contemporary process to change the Constitution [Figure 1]. Once that is achieved, necessary amendments can be proposed, discussed, and voted in by the AIOS members.
Figure 1: Roadmap to reforms: The proposed process for AIOS constitution amendments once Clause 28 is changed

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  What is the Next Step? Top

The process of amending Clause 28 is scheduled from April 2 to April 11, 2021. All the AIOS members have already been mailed the amendment proposal on March 4. The members will all receive the referendum by mail, e-mail, and text message and they can respond to it by any of these means, offline or online, by April 11. The AIOS office will soon circulate the guidelines familiarizing the members with the entire process. It is time for us to act and provide an affirmative response to the amendment of Clause 28 as the clear first and definitive step toward progress.

  Let us be the Catalysts of Change! Top

We need three-fifths of the current ratified voting AIOS members to respond in affirmation for the amendment to be a success. Every response counts! It is said that the sinkholes of change are communication and motivation. It is the bounden duty of every conscientious AIOS member to be an advocate of the cause and a change agent, communicate with and motivate each other and get the giant wheel of change moving for the better. It is now or never!

Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances. Sometimes it's now or never.” - Alan Bennett

  References Top

All India Ophthalmological Society – Memorandum, Rules and Regulations and Bylaws, November 2016. Available from: https://www.aios.org/law.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
Societies Registration Act, 1860. Available from: https://www.mca.gov.in/Ministry/actsbills/pdf/Societies_Registration_Act_1860.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 15].  Back to cited text no. 2


  [Figure 1]


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