Kerala High Court Admits Medical Practitioners' Plea Seeking Permission To Practice Multiple Systems Of Medicine

Navya Benny

15 Sep 2022 3:45 PM GMT

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  • Kerala High Court Admits Medical Practitioners Plea Seeking Permission To Practice Multiple Systems Of Medicine

    The Kerala High Court has admitted and issued notice to the concerned authorities in a plea challenging Clause (F) in Chapter 2 of the National Medical Commission, Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2022 which prevents registered medical practitioners from practicing any other system of medicine, once licensed to practice Modern Medicine under the National...

    The Kerala High Court has admitted and issued notice to the concerned authorities in a plea challenging Clause (F) in Chapter 2 of the National Medical Commission, Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2022 which prevents registered medical practitioners from practicing any other system of medicine, once licensed to practice Modern Medicine under the National Medical Commission Act, 2019. 

    Justice V.G. Arun, while admitting the matter, further sought response from the Central Government and the National Medical Commission (NMC) on this matter. 

    The 1st petitioner in the instant petition is a registered medical practitioner in MBBS under the Travancore-Cochin Medical Practitioners Act, 1953 and in BAMS (Indigenous Medicine) under the same statute.

    The 2nd petitioner herein is a registered medical practitioner under MBBS and BHMS (Homeopathic Medicine) and is a doctor of psychiatry.

    In the plea moved through Advocates Vipin P Varghese, Adarsh Mathew, Kevin Mathew George, Meera Elsa George, and Merline Mathew of V.J. Mathew & Co., it is averred by the petitioners that the said Clause (F) violates the fundamental right of the petitioners to practice any profession, or carry on any occupation, trade or business, as guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, and is further contradictory to the objectives laid down in the Preamble of the NMC Act, 2019.

    It was submitted that the provision makes it mandatory for the petitioners to choose between their different areas of expertise, thus violating their fundamental right under Article 19 (1)(g).

    It has further been submitted that the impugned clause of the draft regulations further transgresses the powers of both the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine, as well as the National Commission for Homeopathy. It was further submitted that the restriction placed on practice of multiple systems of medicine by a registered medical practitioner is excessive, and could not be justified as a reasonable restriction under Article 19(6) of the Constitution. 

    The 1st and 2nd Petitioners, being the President and General Secretary of the Indian Association of Integrative Medicine and Research (IAIMR), an unregistered association consisting of doctors who are qualified and licensed to practice multiple Systems of Medicine, had also submitted a representation before the respondents stating that the impugned clause was illegal and violative of Article 19(1)(g), through an email dated 20th June, 2022. An objection against the impugned clause was also submitted before the Prime Minister by the petitioners on the same date, vide an email, and another representation was submitted before the Chief Minister of Kerala on 21st June 2022.

    It was contended by the petitioners that "a doctor specialized in both streams is the best judge who can decide as to which systems of medicine needs to be prescribed to patients", and the impugned clause is violative to this extent. 

    The petitioners further pointed out that although the draft Regulations had been placed in public domain in accordance with the provisions of the NMC Act, however, the statute as such has no provisions for considering objections, nor any provision for public hearing. It was submitted that despite numerous representation, there was no mandatory provision under the Act mandating the Respondents to consider such representations or conduct public hearing, and hence, there was no effective legal remedy available under the Act for the petitioners unless the Court gives a specific direction in this regard. 

    Thus, the instant petition sought the Court to issue proper direction to the respondents to conduct a public hearing to consider objections and comments from the general public.

    The Court has posted the case for further hearing next week.

    Case Title: Dr. Ranjith Kumar P. v. Ethics and Medical Registration Board, National Medical Commission 

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