The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Central government on a plea by Indian Medical Association (IMA) challenging the changes introduced to Ayurveda regulations in 2020 by which Post Graduate Ayurveda scholars have been allowed to perform modern surgical procedures.
The IMA has challenged the vires of Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations 2016 as amended by the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Amendment Regulations 2020.
The Regulations allow surgeries to conducted by the ones who have done Post Graduation in Shalya Tantra (surgery) and Shalakya Tantra (ENT issues).
“That the impugned Regulations, if allowed to operate, would create a havoc in the country. Uninformed and hapless patients would be at the mercy of persons who do not have the knowledge, experience or training in performing complicated modern surgical procedures,” the petition states.
It is bound to cause an immense and critical damage to the medical health and treatment being provided to the patients across the country, it added.
The plea states that the regulations seek to “illegally permit and legalize usurpation of the Modern Medicine system for the practitioners of Indian Medicine in a completely impermissible manner, which if allowed to be enforced, would result in creating a havoc in the established system of medical care and treatment being provided to the citizens of the country.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the Central government submitted that the concerns of the petitioner was “over pitched” and that Centre will submit a reply in the case.
IMA has contended that parliament had specifically included “Surgery” in the definition of “medicine” under the Indian Medical Council 1956 Act [ now substituted by the National Medical Commission Act, 2019 ] which governs allopathy.
It, however, specifically omitted “Surgery” from the definition of “Indian Medicine” under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 governing Ayurveda.
“This is for the reason that ‘surgery’ is and has always been a part of Modern Medicine and has never been a part of Indian Medicine,” says the plea.
The petitioner has stated that 2020 Amendment to the Ayurveda Regulations inserted Regulation 10(9) in the 2016 Regulations by which it has stipulated 200 modern surgical procedures as part of the practical training of the PG scholars of Shalya Tantra and Shalakya Tantra who shall also be entitled to practice such modern surgical procedures after completing their PG degrees.
All these surgical procedures which have been inserted in the 2016 Regulations by way of the 2020 Amendment [Regulation 10(9)] are squarely covered and are an integral part of the modern medicine system falling within the purview of modern medicine under the 2019 Act and are outside the ambit and scope of the 1970 Act, the petitioner has submitted.
The Regulations being contrary to the ambit and scope of the parent Act (Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970) itself are ultra vires, and deserve to be set aside, it has been contended.
Further, it has been pointed out that the Regulations have been promulgated by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a body constituted under the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.
The 1970 Act is in relation to the form of “Indian Medicine”, distinct from the field of Modern Medicine.
IMA has submitted that CCIM has transgressed the boundaries of the 1970 enactment under which it has been created, and impermissibly entered into the domain of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.
“Regulations are manifestly arbitrary and unreasonable, result in serious affront and prejudice to the constitutional and fundamental Rights of the citizens of this country to receive proper and effective medical care and treatment and also causing serious prejudice to the rights of millions of medical doctors across the country who have toiled hard and spent years of their life undergoing training for attaining the adequate exposure,” the petitioner has contended.