Special Correspondent

High Court orders notices to

Vice-Chancellors

CHENNAI: A public interest litigation petition questioning the validity of a one-year diploma course in Siddha medicine, being offered by the Tamil University in Thanjavur under the distance education mode, has been filed in the Madras High Court. The minimum qualification for the course is a pass in 10th standard.

Justice V. Dhanapalan, before whom the petition filed by advocate P. Sundararajan, who is also a member of the Institutional Ethical Committee of the National Institute of Siddha, came up for hearing, ordered notices to Vice-Chancellors of the Tamil University and the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, besides the Central Council of Indian Medicine.

The petitioner contended that the Tamil University was offering the diploma course without any valid permission or sanction from any of the competent statutory authorities such as the Medical Council of India, Central Council of Indian Medicine, Dr. MGR Medical University and the Distance Education Council.

Pointing out that the medical university itself is offering a five-year full-time undergraduate course in Siddha medicine – Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery – the petitioner said students graduated from the university as well as other similar institutions alone were eligible to register themselves in the Central Register of Indian Medicine and practice the profession.

Contrary to these requirements, the Tamil University, which had neither infrastructure nor legal sanction, offered the diploma course without providing any details regarding the course, Mr. Sundararajan submitted. The university was recognised by the University Grants Commission to conduct language courses and conduct research projects in literary fields, he said adding “the Tamil University is neither a medical university nor a medical college to conduct the Diploma in Siddha Medicine course, as prescribed in the Indian Medical Council Act.”

He contended that application forms were being sold by the university authorities through some catering colleges/study centres, and wanted the court to forbear the university from conducting the course without obtaining necessary permission/sanction from the competent authorities.

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