“Siddha system of medicine is unique to Tamil Nadu. It is part of Tamil Culture. Earlier, every temple in Tamil Nadu would have a functioning Siddha dispensary attached to it. I do not know if that is still the current position. I take judicial notice of the fact that the department of Siddha is undertaking research. During the Covid crisis, the role played by the Sidd ha doctors cannot be lost sight of. When Dengue struck us, the Government itself promoted Nilavembu Kashayam. Disqualifying a Siddha degree holder in the selection process tantamounts to branding the Siddha system as un-modern”, the Madras HC in the case of Vetriselvi and another v. The Member Secretary and others have held.
In the instant matter, an examination was conducted for the post of Food Safety Officer by the Medical Services Recruitment Board. Some of the candidates were not considered in the selection list on the ground that a “Bachelor’s degree in medicine” which was one of the criteria did not include a degree in Siddha or BDS. As far as the qualification for the post was considered it included a degree in Food Technology Dairy Technology or Biotechnol Oil Technology or Agricultural Science or Veterinary Sciences or Bio-Chemistry or Microbiology or Masters’s Degree in Chemistry degree in medicine from a recognized University or any other equivalent qualification. Petitioners challenged this before the court.
Justice GR Swaminathan while disagreeing with the view of authorities further observed that the “Indian Medical Council Act and the Food Safety and Standards Act were neither connected nor incidental to each other. The rule was broad and seeping. Further, Veterinary Sciences which had been specifically excluded from Indian Medical Council Act was one of the qualifications included in the Rule. A restrictive meaning could not be given to the term “degree in medicine” and that the same should be understood expansively.”