Policy & Issues

No blanket permission for police to arrest so-called quacks: court

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday said the police cannot be allowed to proceed against doctors practising under the Indian Medicine system prescribing allopathic drugs.

In his order on a batch of petitions, Justice K.Chandru said at no point of time a person who is having a valid degree and having registered under an enactment could be directed to be proceeded against by the police by registering a criminal case against him and that too at the instance of an association such as the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which was not even a statutory body. It was a mere association of doctors practising allopathy.

In its petition, the Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Graduates Association sought to forbear the authorities from interfering with the professional practice of its members and from taking action in the name of anti-quackery action against them, who were practising their profession as per the Central Council of Indian Medicine's rules and the Indian Medical Degrees (Madras Amendment) Act.

Mr.Justice Chandru referred to a State Government order of September 2010 and said it was the statutory order that took out the taboo of such of those Indian Medicine doctors prescribing even allopathy medicine.

There was a misconception about doctors who were qualified under the Indian Medicine and having valid degree as well as registration under the statutory council being dealt with by the police solely at the instance of the IMA and treating them as criminals. “If allowed, it would certainly bring disrepute to them in the eye of public and will make it appear that the system of Indian Medicine comprises only quacks or non-professionals.” The merits and demerits of each system had to be scientifically established.

Ultimately, it was for the people to opt for a particular system of medicine. The court's legal interpretation ultimately guided to deal with complaints of malpractices. “But, certainly, the police cannot be allowed to take an initiative in such matters.”

Quoting a Supreme Court order, the Judge said no blanket permission could be issued to the police to arrest the so-called quacks identified by the IMA. If the IMA as a guild association of allopathic medical practitioners was aggrieved by any misconduct committed by other medical professionals governed by other systems of medicine, it could complain to their professional bodies under which those professionals were registered and could find remedies. Only in case where it was able to establish that there were persons masquerading as doctors, then the question of pressing into service the Anti-Quackery Act would come into play.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 9:45:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/policy-and-issues/No-blanket-permission-for-police-to-arrest-so-called-quacks-court/article15379144.ece

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