A Madras High Court Bench of Justice SM Subramaniam has observed that allowing any unrecognised institute to conduct six months medical courses and issue diploma certificates would result in disastrous consequences in the society. In light of the same, the Bench has rejected the plea to allow practitioners holding Diploma Certificates for the Community Medical Service Certificate Course, issued by the National Board of Alternate Medicine, to continue their practise.

Counsel N Manokaran appeared for the petitioners, while AGP Ravichandran appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a writ petition was filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, forbearing the respondents from in any way interfering with the petitioners' right to practice and prescribe alternative medicines strictly in conformity with the Certificate of Community Medical Services to carry on lawful occupation under Article 19 (1)(g).

The petitioners were practitioners of alternative medicines like Acupuncture, Electropathy, Hypnotherapy, Egnettherophy, Yoga etc. It was contended that the petitioners had completed six months Community Medical Service Course which is a Diploma Course. Nevertheless, they were being obstructed by the Police authorities and other medical departmental authorities while practising alternate medicine in their respective locations. It was prayed that the Government recognises their practise.

On the other hand, the respondents contended that the petitioners were not qualified medical practitioners, and had not undergone any recognized medical courses being conducted under the provisions of the statute or rules in force. In furtherance of the same, it was contended that the Diploma in Community Medical Services Certificate Course issued by the National Board of Alternate Medicine is not a recognized institute itself but is a private institute and therefore, such diploma courses conducted for six months cannot be considered as a valid course for the purpose of granting permission to practice alternate medicine.

On hearing the parties, the Court took the view that "Allowing any unrecognised institute to conduct six months medical courses and issue diploma certificates would result in disastrous consequences in the society. Health being an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the 'State' is duty bound to ensure that the unrecognised institutes are dealt with properly in accordance with law and the invalid diploma certificates issued by those unrecognised medical institutions are cancelled and the persons secured such certificates are prevented from practising medicine in the society".

In the same context, it was observed that "The writ petitioners herein are neither holding any valid medical decree nor their names are enrolled as medical practitioners in the Tamil Nadu Medical Council."

Consequently, it was held that they were not entitled to practice alternate medicine or any other practice in the medical field. The writ petition was disposed of, and no orders were passed as to costs.

Cause Title: Periya Elayaraja v. The Director General of Police

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