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SC's restriction on unrecognised ayurvedic medicos

Ayurvedic doctors who do not possess requisite qualifications prescribed under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act (IMCCA) cannot practice anywhere in India as they like, the Supreme Court has ruled.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2009 09:50 IST
PTI
Hindustantimes

Ayurvedic doctors who do not possess requisite qualifications prescribed under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act (IMCCA) cannot practice anywhere in India as they like, the Supreme Court has ruled.

In other words, if the ayurvedic practitioners are recognised in a particular state, they do not have any automatic right to practice in other parts of the country too.

Such doctors can only practice in other parts of the country provided their qualification is recognised under the IMCCA, a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Mukundakam Sharma said.

Under Section 29 of the Central Act (IMCCA), the right to practice anywhere in the country is restricted and permissible only if the name of the practitioner finds place in the Central register as per the qualifications prescribed under Section 2(1)(h) of the Act.

Section 2(1)(h) prescribes the qualifications and institutions recognised by the Council for the purpose of imparting training in ayurveda.

The apex court rejected the argument that such a restriction violates a citizen's fundamental right under Article 14 (no discrimination between citizens).

In this case, the Ayurvedic Enlisted Doctor's Association had challenged the Maharashtra Government's decision to prosecute those practising Ayurveda without being registered with the IMCCA.

The stand of the appellants was that they were registered as practitioners under the Bihar Development of Ayurvedic and Unani Systems of Medicine Act, 1951 (the 'Bihar Act').

They argued that though they did not hold any degree or diploma or certificate of any recognised institution, they possessed sufficient knowledge and skill requisite for educational practice of medicines and surgery.

The appellants claimed they fulfilled the conditions imposed by the regulations of Bihar State Council of Ayurvedic and Unani Medicines (the Council) and their names were entered in the state council's register.

The association argued that the Government could not ban their practice on the ground that their names were not registered in the IMCCA as such a restriction was violative of Article 14.

However, the apex court rejected the argument and said that under Article 19(6) of the Constitution, the Government can always put "reasonable restrictions" on a citizen's fundamental right.