From the desk of Dr KK Aggarwal National President, IMA Generic drugs prescription The current Read more →
The scope of Section 15 of Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 has been considered before the Apex Court in the case of Poonam Varma Vs. Ashwin Patel 1996 (4) SCC 332, wherein the practitioner registered under Bombay Homoeopathic and Biochemic Practitioner Act, 1959 proceeded to administer modern medicine, then Apex Court took the view, that he was not qualified to practice Allopathic, and had entered into prohibited field of Allopathic. Relevant extract of the said judgement is as follows:
“31. The impact of the above provisions is that no person can practice medicine in any State unless he Possesses the requisite qualification and is enrolled as a Medical Practitioner on State Medical Register. The consequences for the breach of these provisions are indicated in Subsection 32. If a person practices medicine without possessing either the requisite qualification or enrollment under the Act on any State Medical Register, he becomes liable to be punished with imprisonment or fine or both 32.
Apart from the Central Act mentioned above, there is the Maharashtra Medical Council Act 7 1965 dealing with the registration of Medical Practitioners and recognition of qualification and medical institutions. Section 2 (d) defines ‘Medical Practitioner’ or ‘Practitioner’ as under : “Medical Practitioner or Practitioner means a person who is engaged in the practice of modern scientific medicine in any of its branches including surgery and obstetrics, but not including Veterinary medicine or surgery or the Ayurvedic, Unani, Homoeopathic or Biochemic system of medicine (emphasis supplied)
33. It will be seen that the definition consists of two distinct parts; the first part contains the conclusive nature of phraseology and the latter part is the exclusionary part which specifically excludes Homoeopathic or Biochemic System of Medicine. A register of Medical Practitioners is to be maintained in terms of the mandate contained in Section 16(1) of the Act Under Sub-section (3), a person possessing requisite qualification and on payment of requisite fee can apply for registration of his name in the aforesaid Register.
34. A combined reading of the aforesaid Acts, namely, the Bombay Homoeopathic Practitioners Act, 1959, the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 and the Maharashtra Medical Council Act, 1965 indicates that a person who is registered under the Bombay Homoeopathic
Practitioners Act, 1959 can practice Homoeopathy only and that he cannot be registered under the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or under the State Act, namely, the Maharashtra Medical Council, Act, 1965, because of the restriction on registration of persons not possessing the requisite qualification. So also, a person possessing the qualification mentioned in the Schedule appended to the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 or the Maharashtra Medical Counsel Act, 1965 cannot be registered as a Medical Practitioner under the Bombay
Homeopathic Practitioners Act, 1959, as he does not possesse any qualification in Homoeopatnic System of Medicine. The significance of mutual exclusion is relevant inasmuch as the right to practice in any particular system of medicine is dependent upon registration which is permissible only if qualification) and that too, recognised qualification, is possessed by a person in that System.35. It is true that in all the aforesaid Systems of Medicine, the patient is always a human being. It is also true that Anatomy and Physiology of every human being all over the world, irrespective of the country, the habitat and the region to which he may belong, is the same. He has the same faculties and same systems. The Central Nervous System, the Cardio-Vascular System, the Digestive and Reproductive systems etc. are similar all over the world. Similarly, Emotions, namely, anger, sorrow, happiness, pain etc. are naturally possessed by every human being. 36. But merely because the Anatomy and Physiology are similar, it does not mean that a person having studied one System of Medicine can claim to treat the patient by drugs of another System which he might not have studied at any stage. No doubt, study of Physiology and Anatomy is common in all Systems of Medicines and the students belonging to different Systems of Medicines may be taught physiology and Anatomy together, but so far as the study of drugs is concerned, the pharmacology of all systems is entirely different.37. an ailment, if it is not surgical, is treated by medicines or drugs. Typhoid Fever, for example, can be treated not only under Allopathic System of medicine, but also under the Ayurvedic, Unani and Homoeopathic Systems of Medicine by drugs prepared and manufactured according to their own formulate and pharmacopoeia .
Therefore, a person having studied one particular System of Medicine cannot possibly claim deep and complete knowledge about the drugs of the other System of Medicine. 38.
The bane of Allopathic medicine is that it always has a side-effect. A warning to this effect is printed on the trade label for the use of the person (Doctor) having studied that System of Medicine.39.
Since the law, under which Respondent No. 1 was registered as a Medical Practitioner, required him to practice in HOMOEOPATHY ONLY, he was under a statutory duty not to enter the field of any other System of Medicine as, admittedly, he was not qualified in the other system, Allopathy, to be precise. He trespassed into a prohibited field and was liable to be prosecuted under Section 15(3) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. His conduct amounted to an actionable negligence particularly as the duty of care indicated by this Court in DR. LAXMAN JOSHI’S CASE (SUPRA) WAS BREACHED BY HIM ON ALL THE THREE COUNTS INDICATED THEREIN.41.
A person who does not have knowledge of a particular System of Medicine but practices in that System is a Quack and a mere pretender to medical knowledge or skill, or to put it differently, a Charlatan.
As per the said judgement right to practice in particular system of medicine is dependent upon registration which is permissible only if qualification is there, and that too, if recognised qualification is possessed by a person in that system. Apex Court further made it clear that merely because the subject of Anatomy and Physiology are similar, it does not mean that a person having studied one System of Medicine can claim to treat the patient by drugs of another System which he might not have studied at any stage.