New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday gave the green signal to introduction of a 3 year-course for non-MBBS persons to practise medicine in primary health centres in rural areas saying "it`s better to be treated by a doctor than by a quack".
The go-ahead came after the Centre told the HC that it has approved the course and Medical Council of India(MCI) would prepare a syllabus for the course soon.
"It is better to be treated by a doctor than a quack",
said a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice
Manmohan and gave the nod to the Ministry of Health to go
ahead with introduction of new course-Bacholar of Rural
Health Care for three years.
The Centre`s counsel submitted before the bench that to
practice in primary health care centres, a person has to
qualify the new course and six months internship thereafter.
After obtaining an experience of five years, if the person
does a bridge course for two years, he will be equivalent to a
The counsel further submitted that after approval, the
government has asked MCI to prepare the syllabus.
Meanwhile, MCI informed the Bench that it will prepare
the syllabus within two months, after which the court asked
the government to issue a notification six weeks thereafter so
as to implement the course from next academic year.
The Bench was hearing a PIL, filed by one Meenakshi
Gautam, through counsel Prashant Bhushan, seeking to
decriminalise the practise of medicine by non-MBBS persons.
The petitioner sought a direction to the government to
introduce a short-term course for training healthcare workers
so that shortage of doctors in rural areas could be removed.
The Indian Medical Council Act, which provides for one-year imprisonment for practising medicine by non-MBBS persons, should be amended, said the petitioner.
According to the Act, only a MBBS qualified person can
practice medicine and prescribe a scheduled drug. The Act has
obstructed the development of mid-level health practitioners
who can deliver family healthcare, the petitioner added.