November 20, 2010

Keep off Siddha docs practising allopathy , HC tells police

The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has quashed criminal cases filed against seven Siddha doctors for practising allopathy and observed that the police should not interfere in such matters, as it would demoralise the qualified practitioners of the Indian Systems of Medicine.

Allowing petitions filed by S Arockia Varghese, M Ravindran, A Nagarajan, G Suresh Khanna and Porkodi of Tirunelveli district and A Ganeshamoorthy and S Valli of Dindigul district, Justice G Rajasuria said the police cannot interfere in such matters, as it affects the morale of qualified Siddha doctors. If any person was affected by the practice of allopathy by these Siddha doctors, they would have to petition the Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Council or the Director of Public Health.

He also said the government order of September 8 stated that institutionally qualified practitioners of the Indian Systems of Medicine such as Siddha, Ayurveda, Homoeopathy and Unani were eligible to practise modern scientific medicine based on their training and teaching. Following this, the DGP issued a circular to the police commissioners, inspector-generals of police and superintendents of police directing them not to interfere with the practice of registered doctors of Indian medicine.

The judge said the police should not interfere in such cases, even if complaints in this regard are received from the public against Siddha practitioners with a BSMS degree (Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery).

The high cout order is in line with the recent trend of protecting qualified practitioners of Indian medicine systems from legal action for prescribing allopathic drugs. In September, the state government issued a notification amending a rule under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act defining a 'registered medical practitioner'. By this, the government will treat practitioners of alternative Indian systems, including siddha, as persons practising the modern scientific system of medicine' for the purposes of enforcing the drugs and cosmetics law. It was aimed at ensuring that siddha, ayurveda and unani practitioners face no proceedings under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act for prescribing or storing allopathic medicines.

The Indian Medical Association's Tamil Nadu chapter has said it will to challenge the new rule.

Last July, the Madras high court ruled that registered practitioners of Indian systems were eligible to practise surgery. "It is imperative that no proceedings can be initiated against any of those registered practitioners in siddha, ayurveda, homoeopathy and unani, who are eligible to practise their respective system, along with modern scientific medicine, including surgery," the court had said.

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