Emergency Duties Performed by Allopathy Doctors, Can't Be Done by Ayurveda Physicians: SC
The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Gujarat High Court order, holding that Ayurveda practitioners working in government hospitals should be treated at par with doctors holding MBBS degrees and they are entitled to equal pay.
A bench of justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal said: "Even while recognising the importance of Ayurveda doctors and the need to promote alternative/indigenous systems of medicine, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that both categories of doctors are certainly not performing equal work to be entitled to equal pay."
The bench said it is common knowledge that during out-patient days (OPD) in general hospitals in cities/towns, MBBS doctors are made to attend to hundreds of patients, which is not the case with Ayurveda doctors. "Section 176 of Cr.P.C deals with inquiry by Magistrates into the cause of death. Sub-section (5) of Section 176 uses similar words namely civil surgeon or other qualified medical man. We do not think that the AYUSH doctors are normally notified as competent to perform post-mortem," said the bench.
The top court's judgment came on a batch of appeals challenging a 2012 Gujarat High Court order, which held that Ayurveda practitioners are entitled to be treated at par with doctors with MBBS degrees.
The bench said: "By the very nature of the science that they practise and with the advancement of science and modern medical technology, the emergency duty that allopathy doctors are capable of performing and the trauma care that they are capable of providing cannot be performed by Ayurveda doctors."
"It is also not possible for Ayurved doctors to assist surgeons performing complicated surgeries, while MBBS doctors can assist. We shall not be understood to mean as though one system of medicine is superior to the other."
The bench said it is not its mandate nor within its competence to assess the relative merits of these two systems of medical sciences and as a matter of fact, "we are conscious that the history of Ayurveda dates back to several centuries."
"We have no doubt that every alternative system of medicine may have its pride of place in history. But today, the practitioners of indigenous systems of medicine do not perform complicated surgical operations. A study of Ayurveda does not authorise them to perform these surgeries."
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