SC Reserves Judgment of Assam Act Allowing Diploma Holders to Treat Specific Diseases

The Act allowed persons who have completed three years Diploma Course in Medicine and Rural Health Care to treat certain specified common diseases.
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India has reserved its verdict in a petition filed assailing the orders of the Gauhati High Court which struck down the Assam Rural Health Regulatory Authority Act, 2004 after ten years of its promulgation.

The Act allowed persons who have completed three years Diploma Course in Medicine and Rural Health Care to treat certain specified common diseases.

A bench comprising of Justices B. R. Gavai and B. V. Nagarathna heard the matter on Thursday.

The main issue was whether the Assam Rural Health Regulatory Authority Act, 2004 was unconstitutional and ultravires the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956.

Taking into account the shortage of qualified doctors willing to go to the rural areas and to supplement the qualified doctors, the Assam government promulgated the Assam Rural Health Regulatory Authority Act, 2004.

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The Act introduced a three years Diploma course in Medicine and Rural Health Care and established a Regulatory Authority to regulate and register the Diploma Holders.

The Regulations of the Assam Rural Health Regulatory Authority, 2005 provided that the Rural Health Practitioners could only treat the listed common diseases and carry out certain minor surgical procedures and could prescribe only certain listed drugs.

The High Court had stated that as per the application of Section 10 A of the Indian Medical Council Act, the State Government should have taken the permission of the Central Government before introducing the said diploma course, mentioned the petition.

Thus, the High Court took the view that due to the lack of permission of the Central Government and the lack of presidential assent the said act would be unconstitutional, it added.

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