A number of unqualified, untrained quacks are posing a great risk to the entire society and playing with the lives of people without having the requisite training and education in the science from approved institutions.
Dr KK Aggarwal and Ira Gupta
In the matter titled as Kerala Ayurveda Paramparya Vaidya Forum Versus State of Kerala and Others, Civil Appeal 897/2009 the Hon’ble Supreme Court comprising of bench of Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. K. Aggarwal and Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar vide judgment dated 13.04.2018 has dealt with the issue whether the persons who do not fulfill the prescribed qualification and are not duly registered under the relevant Statute, be permitted to practice as ‘Paramparya Vaidyas’?
The facts of the case are:
(a) In the State of Kerala, a number of persons are practicing in Sidha/Unani/Ayurveda system of medicine called as “Paramparya Vaidyas’ and passing their knowledge and experience to their descendants by way of training and practice. Normally, almost all the descendants in the family get training in the same field and adopt this as a profession and means of livelihood.
(b) Pursuant to the enactment of the Travancore-Cochin Medical Practitioners Act, 1953 (in short ‘the Act’), the ‘Paramparya Vaidyas’ were debarred from practicing modern/homoeopathic/ayurvedic/siddha/unani-tibbi medicines unless registered under the Act. Subsequently, three Central Acts, viz., The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, The Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 with regard to modern medicine, indigenous medicine and homoeopathic medicine respectively came into force.
(c) Being aggrieved by the enactment of the Act, Akhila Kerala Parambarya Vaidya Federation as well as the persons practicing as ‘Paramparya Vaidyas’ filed a number of petitions before the High Court. Learned single Judge of the High Court, taking note of an affidavit filed by the State Government stating that the question of granting registration to practice medicines to the ‘Paramparya Vaidyas’ can be considered at the time of enactment of Kerala Medical Practitioners Bill, by order dated 17.06.1997 in O.P. No. 118 of 1991 and other set of petitions, disposed of the original petitions while directing the State Government to have a serious consideration of the circumstances expeditiously.
(d) Several petitions were filed before the High Court by the ‘Paramparya Vaidyas’ claiming that the methods had been in vogue for a considerable long period of time. The Division Bench of the High Court, vide order dated 08.01.2003 dismissed the petitions filed by the appellants herein. Aggrieved by the order dated 08.01.2003, the appellants have preferred these appeals by way of special leave.
After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that:
19) In our country, the numbers of qualified medical practitioners have been much less than the required number of such persons. The scarcity of qualified medical practitioner was previously quite large since there were very few institutions imparting teaching and training to Doctors, Vaidyas, Hakims etc. The position has now changed and there are quite a good number of medical colleges imparting education in various streams of medicine. No doubt, now there are a good numbers of such institutions training qualified medical practitioners at number of places. The persons having no recognized and approved qualifications, having little knowledge about the indigenous medicines, are becoming medical practitioners and playing with the lives of thousands and millions of people. Some time such quacks commit blunders and precious lives are lost.
20) The government had been vigilant all along to stop such quackery. A number of unqualified, untrained quacks are posing a great risk to the entire society and playing with the lives of people without having the requisite training and education in the science from approved institutions. The Travancore-Cochin Medical Practitioners Act, 1953 as well as the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 were also enacted on the similar lines. Every practitioner shall be deemed to be a practitioner registered under the Act if at the commencement of this Act, his name stands entered in the appropriate register maintained under the said Act and every certificate of registration issued to every such practitioner shall be deemed to be a certificate of registration issued under this Act. But in the present case, the appellants herein have failed to show that they possessed requisite recognized qualification for registration entitling them to practice Indian system of medicines or their names have been entered in the appropriate registers after the commencement of this Act.”