Homoeopathic committee for the amendment of Travancore – Cochin medical practitioners act 1953 and for the recommendation of draft bills, Thiruvananthapuram.
Sub: Health and Family welfare department-Travancore- Cochin Medical Practitioners Act, 1953- Amendment- Formation of Committee for recommendations for Draft Bills-reg.
Ref: 1. G.O. (MS) No.38/070H&FWD, dated: 2-3-2007.
2. Letter from the convener of the committee -A2.1057/07/MC, dated 05-02- 2008.
With reference to the letter, and scheduled meetings conducted at various places, we the state working committee of Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association [IHMA], Kerala chapter, had attended the meetings and given valuable suggestions orally, regarding the amendment of Travancore- Cochin medical practitioners act 1953.
This is the written memorandum from IHMA containing various valuable suggestions regarding amendment of Travancore- Cochin medical practitioners act exclusively for the committee so that it could be included in the draft bills of ‘Kerala Medical Practitioners Act’. In the state of Kerala the medical profession is governed by ‘The Travancore- Cochin Medical Practitioners Act – 1953’ and ‘The Madras Medical Registration Act – 1914’. The Travancore- Cochin area is governed by ‘The Travancore- Cochin – Medical Practitioners Act’ and the Malabar area is governed by “The Madras Act”. These two acts are state acts. In The Travancore- Cochin Medical Practitioners Act, Allopathy, Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, Sidha & Unani systems of medicines are covered. Whereas in The Madras act, only practitioners of Allopathic system were registered. These acts were intended to form statutory medical councils, and to give registration to those qualified in these systems and thereby to prevent practice of medicine by unqualified persons.
These two acts were enacted prior to the formation of the Kerala State in 1956. So the provision in these acts needs consolidation and amendments so as to suit the Kerala State. Meanwhile central acts were passed by the Indian parliament in various periods. As medical profession is in the concurrent list, in the constitution of India, the state legislature and the central legislature can make laws. In the constitution it says that if a dispute arises between the provisions of the central act and the state act, the provision of the central act will prevail over the state acts. The central act for Allopathy, ie. ‘The Indian Medical Council Act’ came into force in Kerala in the year 1956. The Central Act for Homoeopathy, ie. ‘The Homeopathic Central Council Act-1973’, came into force in Kerala on 01.08.1974, and the central act for Indigenous medicines, viz. Ayurveda, Sidha and Unani, ie. ‘The Indian Medicine Central Council Act’ came into force in Kerala on 01.10.1976. All these central acts prevents practice of medicine by unqualified persons from the date of commencement of the acts. So the two state acts and the three central acts together governs the medical practice in Kerala state. As this is the situation while amending and consolidating the existing state acts, it should be noted that no section or clause of the act should become contrary to any of the provisions of the three central acts.
The state government had already made several attempts to consolidate and amend the state acts. In the year 1972 the state legislature has passed a bill named ‘The Kerala Medical Practitioners Bill – 1972’, which was sent to the central government for approval. But the central government denied approval. In the year 1995 state government again made a draft bill namely ‘The Kerala Medical Practitioners Bill-1995’. The central government did not give approval to this bill also, and stated reasons for denial and asked the state to modify the bill in accordance with the provisions of the central acts. In the year 2004 the state government again sent a letter to the central government to grant approval to the bill of 1995, without modifying it in accordance with the central acts. The central government again denied the approval. In the year 2006 the state government again requested the central government to grant approval to the same bill without any modification. Central government again asked the state government to go through the previous communications and to modify the draft bill accordingly. By this type of action of the state government we can see the real intention of the state government.
The suggestions and recommendations are described as follows:
[A.] The title should be changed as “The Kerala Medical Practitioners Act”
To provide for the registration of practitioners of modern medicine, Homoeopathic medicine, and Indigenous medicine and to consolidate and amend the law relating to medical practitioners generally in the state of Kerala.
[B]. PART 1 PRELIMINARY
Section. 2. Definitions.
j. “Qualified registered medical practitioner” means a qualified practitioner whose name has been entered in the register, for the time being.
[C.] PART-II ESTABLISHMENT OF COUNCILS.
Section. 3. Establishment, incorporation and constitution of councils.
Subsection (3). The council of homoeopathic medicine shall consist of the following members:-
(a). The Director of Homoeopathy-ex-officio.
(b).The Principal & controlling officer, Government Homoeopathic medical college-ex-officio.
(c).One qualified registered medical practitioner in Homoeopathic medicine from each revenue district of Kerala, who is a resident of that district and elected among the registered medical practitioners in Kerala.
(d). One member nominated from medical officers of Govt. Homoeopathic department of the state.
(e). One member nominated from the teaching staff of any of the Government/Aided Homoeopathic medical colleges in Kerala state.
(f). One elected member who belongs to the faculty of homoeopathic medicine, from each university in the state, the election being conducted among the faculty members.
(g). The president and vice-president should be elected from the council members.
Section. 5. Qualification of members: – Every member of the council should be a qualified registered medical practitioner, and the holder of a recognised qualification in the respective system of medicine.
Section. 7. Disqualifications of membership:-
In addition to the present regulations the following condition should be included as:
k. If he is not a resident of the state.
Section. 8. Term of office members. :–
b. In the case of Homoeopathic council, it should be for a period of two years from the date on which the first meeting of such council is held.
Section. 16. Presidency at meetings of council and procedure thereat.
Subsection . The quorum should be changed as follows: Two-third [2/3rd] of the total members of the council should form a quorum in Homoeopathic council.
Section. 20. Duties of registrar
Subsection . For the purpose of this section, the registrar may write by registered post to any registered practitioner at the address which is entered in the register to enquire, whether he has ceased to practice or has changed his residence to a place outside the state, and if no answer is received to the said letter within six months, the registrar, may remove the name of the said practitioner from the register.
Section. 21. Framing of regulations and procedure for amendment thereof.
Changes should be made as follows:
Subsection .As soon as the first council is formed the council of modern medicine, the council of Homoeopathic medicine, and the council of indigenous medicine shall each appoint a committee of five members.
Section. 23. Eligibility for registration.
In subsection ,(ii) should be deleted, and subsection  should be deleted.
The registration should be in concordance with the provision of the central council acts. [Letter from central government enclosed].
There shall be provisional registration for internees, fees as may provided by rules.
Renewal of registration. The qualified registered medical practitioner should renew his registration every five years, provided he attends, not less than thirty hours of continuing medical education programs, conducted only by registered professional organisations in Homoeopathy.
[D.] PART III MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS GENERALLY
Section. 38. Persons not registered under this Act. Etc, not to practice:-
The First provision of Section 38 ie. second paragraph starting “provided that the government…….medical practice.” should be deleted. Government has no power to invoke this provision after the enactment of the central Acts [Letter No. 16516/F2/03/Law, Dated 07-10-2003. of state law department- copy enclosed].
The Central Council Act 1973 which is implemented in Kerala on 01-08-1974[ie, the non-registerd unqualified practitioners having not less than five years experience on the commencement of the Homoeopathic Central Council Act 1973, ie 01-08-1974] is the date for giving any legal protection to those unqualified practitioners practicing homoeopathy in Malabar area. The age of the non registered unqualified medical practitioners shall be, not less than twenty years on 01-08-1969. ie five years before the implementation of Central Council Act which is on 01-08-1974.
Such unqualified homoeopathic practitioners in Malabar area as per central council act -1973 can avail registrations, applied in the prescribed application form provided by the homoeopathic council within six months from the date on which this act is implemented and notified through gazette in Kerala. The council can take a decision to give B class registration to such applicants who fulfill the below stated conditions.
1. Applicant should be a resident of Malabar area and practicing homoeopathy as a profession, in that area, at the time of implementation of central council act-1973. The proof of residence and duration of practice should be produced and certified by a revenue officer, not below the rank of district collector.
2. The minimum basic qualification of the applicant should be SSLC or equivalent.
3. The age of the applicant should be not less than twenty years on 01-08-1969, and should be proved by SSLC book.
4. The non-registered unqualified practioners should not be a staff in the central or state governments, public or co-operative sector, during when they were practicing Homoeopathic medicine.
Section. 39. Penalty – Even though the Central Council Act at present provides upto one year imprisonment and upto one thousand rupees [Rs.1000/-] fine for quack practice, nobody is punished under this Act. This is because police cannot take direct action against quacks. Right now the police have to file a case before the magistrate and get orders to arrest the culprit. So the police do not take initiative for the same. Hence the penalty should be increased so as to become a ‘cognizance of offence’. The penalty amount for section 39. , section 41-subsection , section 42- sub-section , section 43, should be raised to, not less than Rs. 25000[twenty five thousand] with imprisonment, not less than 3[three] years.
Subsection  of Section 42 of the draft bill 1995 which allows the judge to decrease the punishments should be removed.
Section 45. Jurisdiction of magistrate.
Subsection . Offense should be included under “Cognizance of offense”.
[E.] PART IV MISCELLANEOUS
Section 8. Repeal- the Travancore –Cochin medical practitioners act 1953[Act IX of 1953] is hereby repealed. The Madras registration Act 1914[Madras Act 4of 1914, shall cease to have effect in the Malabar districts referred to in subsection  of section  of the state re-organisation act1956 [Central Act 37 of 1956.
[F.] THE SCHEDULE RECOGNISED QUALIFICATIONS
QUALIFICATION OF HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINE
1. Degree or diploma in homoeopathic medicine granted by
(a). From the universities in India recognised by the Government and the Central Council of Homoeopathy.
(b). The board of examinations of Kerala recognised by the Central Council of Homoeopathy.
2. All qualifications recognized by the Central Council of Homoeopathy.
On behalf of the suggestions explained above, we the state committee of Indian Homoeopathic Medical Association [IHMA] humbly request you to take an adequate and strong decision for amending the ‘Kerala Medical Practitioners Act’ in the shortest time possible, to save the health of the public from quacks, which in turn benefits the public and Homoeopathic fraternity.
Dr. V. Suresan
IHMA Kerala state chapter
List of enclosures:
1. Copy of the letter No.V-27016/14/2003-Ay.desk. Govt .of India-Ministry of Health & FW., Department of Ayush.
2. Copy of letter No. 5333/Leg.C3/02/Law., No. 18210/Leg. Uni. 1/99 Law, dt. 07-12-1999 and No. 16516/F2/03/Law/dt.07-10-2003.
3. Copy of letter No. H2/3691/2001/MC,dt.24-04-2001. from the Registrar, T-C- Medical Council/Thiruvananthapuram.