In the matter of TN Ayush Sinologists v UoI The Tamil Nadu Association of AYUSH Sinologists, which is made up of doctors who use homoeopathy, unani, ayurveda, and other complementary and alternative therapies, filed three writ petitions before the Madras High Court.
The petitioners had stated that they were holders of legitimate medical degrees from accredited colleges in their respective fields. They claimed that diagnostic techniques were covered in their prescribed course materials for courses in homoeopathy, ayurveda, and other complementary and alternative medicine. Additionally, they asserted that they had completed certificate programmes in ultrasonography and that they were completely qualified to perform diagnostic tests and ultrasonogram techniques on pregnant women as long as they did not engage in sex selection before or following conception, which is against the PNDT Act.
The Complainant The petitioner Association’s position was supported by the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), which stated that there was no obstacle preventing them from carrying out the specified diagnostic tests. They further stated that because the PNDT Act was a Central Act, doctors had to meet the requirements outlined in its provisions.
Analysis of Court Decision
The Madras High Court single judge bench Justice SM Subramaniam held that AYUSH doctors must be licenced under the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act and Rules to perform sonograms and other pre-natal diagnostic tests on expectant mothers. Any doctor, whether practising allopathic medicine or another branch of medicine, can only carry out such diagnostic tests provided they are competent doctors as defined by the Central PNDT Act. The Madras High Court ruled that without the PNDT Act, AYUSH doctors are not authorised to perform sonography or prenatal testing on pregnant mothers. The Court ruled that the PNDT Act does not recognise a qualification as having been met by simply providing a syllabus for diagnostic procedures or ultrasonography/ultrasound techniques.
The High Court accepted the State’s argument, noting that the PNDT Rules of 2014 required all MBBS doctors to complete a specific six-month “level one course on Fundamentals in Abdomino Pelvic Ultrasonography.” As a result, the members of the Petitioner Association must also meet the requirements of the aforementioned Central Rule. The Bench further claims that the basic conditions envisioned by the Special Act cannot be met by merely prescribing generic subjects during an ultrasonogram. The Court further declared that because prenatal diagnostic methods are special procedures or treatments, the appropriate authorities are required to adhere strictly to the particular requirements outlined in the Central Act and the Rules.