The Delhi High Court Tuesday refused to pass directions for permitting homeopathic treatment for mild COVID-19 cases, saying expert bodies like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are the best judges to decide and accord approval in respect of medical protocol.

The High Court said that the petitioners shall be free to go ahead with their research or clinical drug trials strictly in accordance with law.

Advocate Suvidutt M.S appeared for the Petitioners in the case while Advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, CGSC and Advocate Isha Thakur appeared for the Respondents.

"It is true that homoeopathic medicines are very effective and large number of people throughout the globe are availing homeopathic treatment, but in cases of pandemic, which protocol has to be validated by the government should always be left to the discretion of the government. Decision of the government in such scenarios is based upon expert opinions and the experts are certainly the masters of the field," a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

The Bench said that expert bodies like the ICMR and other statutory bodies are the best judges to decide and to accord approval in respect of medical protocol.

It is not for the courts to comment upon the medical protocols and the guidelines framed on the subject which is, in fact, issued after great research on the subject, the High Court said.

The petitioners had approached the high court seeking to direct the Ministry of Ayush to notify homoeopathic medicines of Arsenicum album Phosphorus Tuberculinum (APT) in series intervention protocol to prevent COVID-19 infections and to allow homoeopathic treatment of mild cases of COVID-19 and added therapy in severe to critical cases.

The High Court said that though the infection rate was very high, the government through its medical protocol was able to control the pandemic and at present, the government has been able to vaccinate majority of the population as more than 219 crores doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.

It said that all kind of specialised treatments have been made available to the last man in the society.

"This court at this juncture does not find any reason to grant relief as prayed for by the petitioners. However, the petitioners shall certainly be free to conduct a drug trial by following statutory provisions of law", the Court said.

"The petitioners have not been stopped by any authority to conduct research, and the affidavit filed by the respondent no.2 (Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy) makes it very clear that a procedure has been laid down for conducting clinical trials, and nobody has prevented the petitioners to conduct clinical trials and to obtain necessary permission required under the law," the Bench said.

The Bench said that at this juncture, especially when the COVID-19 infections have come almost to an end, the court does not find any reason to allow the relief prayed for by the petitioners.

Cause Title: Dr. Ravi M. Nair & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr.

Click here to read/download Judgment

With PTI inputs