The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has held that Electropathy/ Electro Homeopathy system of medicine cannot be allowed to propel, as the same is not recognized under any law in India.
Dismissing a batch of petitions filed by practitioners in Electropathy, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana held,
"Most of the certificates produced by the petitioners in the typed set of papers, in respect of their claim of obtaining Diploma in Electro Homeopathy, are issued by some private institutions without affiliation to anyone of the statutory bodies / universities recognized by the Acts of the Parliament. The petitioners, who claimed to have undergone a diploma course in the so-called alternative stream of medicine, without even verifying the genuineness of the statutory recognition, status of the institute joined the course, throws serious doubt about the genuineness in their very claim. Having obtained diplomas from such institutes, the petitioners are estopped from claiming any right either to register themselves in the roles of the statutory council or practice in that particular stream of medicine."
The Petitioners had challenged the action of the Tamil Nadu Homeopathy Medical Council, refusing to register the Petitioners' Diploma certificates in Electropathy in their council while also forbearing them from practice.
The case of the petitioners was that they studied three years Diploma Course in Electro Homeopathy and had been practicing in the said system of medicine. According to them, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) had recognized them to practice and the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, vide the order dated May 5, 2020 made in No.V25011/26/2009-HR had unequivocally held that there is no proposal to stop the persons like the Petitioners from practicing in electropathy or imparting education.
They relied on GGS Medical Institute of & Hospital of Electropathy & Anr. V. Union of India, SLP No. 23572/2009 whereby the Supreme Court had permitted the appellant therein to provide an alternative therapy, i.e., Electro Homeopathy, as there is no ban by any competent authority.
The Respondents contended that unlike the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, which takes care of the four Indian systems of Medicine, such as, Ayurveda, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa and Unani, there is no act to recognize and regulate the new systems of medicine, which includes Electropathy / Electrohomeopathy.
Giving clarity on the Heath Ministry's order dated May 5, 2010, the Respondents submitted that they had not given permission for practice or imparting education in Electropathy, but had only stated that there was no proposal to stop the petitioners therein from practicing.
They also argued that the MSME, with which the petitioners claimed to have registered themselves for practice, had nothing to do with medical practitioners and it was not the competent authority to have a say in the medical field.
Reliance was then placed on a judgment of the Bombay High Court in Electropathy Medicos of India v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2002 Bombay 22, wherein, a direction for closing down of an institute, which offered courses in electropathy/ electro-homeopathy, was ordered as early as in the year 2001.
Similar judgments of the Allahabad, Punjab and Haryana High Courts and of the Madras High Court itself were also cited to drive home the point that the Electropathy/Electrohomeopathy is not recognized in India and no one is entitled to practice the said stream and impart education on that stream.
The court noted that order dated May 5, 2010, relied upon by the Petitioners clearly stipulated that there is no proposal to stop the practice of the petitioners in electropathy, if the same is in tune with another order of the Ministry dated November 25, 2003.
The said order dated November 25, 2003 clearly states that the Electropathy is not recognized in India and that the State/Union Territories Governments should ensure that institutions under them do not grant any degree/ diploma in the stream of medicine which have not been recommended for recognition and the term "Doctor" is used by practitioners of recognized system of medicine.
Thus it was held that the Petitioners could not resort to the order dated May 5, 2010 to support their case as they had not obtained diplomas from recognized institutions.
At this juncture, the high court also noted that despite the order dated November 25, 2003 asking them to keep a check on institutions which offer unrecognized courses, the state governments utterly failed in their duties.
The court remarked that the regulations to have a check on the institutions, which offer unrecognized courses within India, are "toothless".
"Though all the rules and regulations are in place, there is no action taken by the authorities concerned. The authorities are accountable for not implementing the rules. The common man and aspiring students should be informed and awareness should have been created in them about the unrecognized courses," the court remarked.
"The State / Central Governments should take the responsibility to check that these medical institutions do not admit students and foster them a medical diploma, which, at the end of the course, goes invalid / unrecognized.
In the instant case, the first respondent even in the order dated 25.11.2003 directed the State Governments and the Union Territories to ensure that the institutions under them do not grant any degree / diploma in the stream of medicine which have not been recommended for recognition. But the institute, in which, the petitioners claim to have studied is able to run the three years courses for many academic years, without any action being initiated against it by the State Government. The same cannot be weighed lightly, as it caused serious prejudice to the lives of these young petitioners. In such situation, at least, now, the Central / State Governments are directed to take immediate action against such bogus institutes and have a serious check on these issues without any further delay, in accordance with law," the court held.
Moving on to the Apex Court's decision in GGS Medical Institute (supra), the court observed,
"Even in the said judgment, the Hon'ble Apex Court held that the practice in electropathy or imparting education should be done with the provisions of the order dated 25.11.2003. Since the claim of the petitioners herein is not in tune with the provisions of the order dated 25.11.2003, they are not entitled to lay their hands in the said judgment to seek similar treatment."
The court also took note of the Tamil Nadu Homeopathy System of Medicine and Practitioners of Homeopathy Act, 1971, enacted by the State Government, Sections 26 to 29 of which, debar any person other than one registered under the said Act from practicing homeopathy and also conferring of degrees or other Diploma, licence or certificates are equally held to be invalid and punishable.
Lastly, the court also refused to allow the Petitioners to practice in Electropathy on the basis of a bill pending in the Parliament to grant recognition to the same. It said,
"Though the learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that the Central Government is taking steps to enact laws, namely, The Electro Homeopathy System of Medicine (Recognition) Bill, and till such time, the petitioners may be permitted to practice, when this Court posed a specific question as to whether the petitioners can rely upon the provisions contained in the proposed Bill, it is admitted by him that untill the same is passed by both the House of Parliament and received the Presidential assent, they cannot."
Before parting, the bench noted that the right of every Indian citizen to health and the right to receive proper medical care by qualified medical personnel is violated not only by the existence of 'quacks', but also by the practitioners with unrecognized medical degree/diploma.
"Eventually, the life of the patient is at risk…
The quality / faith in the medical education would come down significantly, if the existence of these unrecognized medical certificates are permitted to be issued or granted. This is not only the concern/problem of a common man, who gets affected, but the talented Doctors also are put to jeopardy," it observed.
The court added,
"The ramifications of possessing an unrecognized diploma would include : (i) denial of right to practice ; (ii) denial of recognition of the degree / diploma by the State / Central Government and its statutory bodies ; (iii) humiliation for holding unrecognized degree ; (iv) no right to suffix the unrecognized degree / diploma to their names ; (v) threat to face civil / criminal cases ; and above all (vi) lives of patients at risk."
Thus, it has directed the Central/ State Governments to take immediate action against such bogus institutes that offer medical courses that have not been recognized under any law or by any authorized authority.
Case Title: K.Sumathi v. Union of India & Ors.
Case No.: WP (MD) No. 24555/2019
Quorum: Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana
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