Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan*, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ has held that while the Homeopathic practitioners can prescribe medicines for COVID-19, neither them nor any other medical practitioner can claim that they can cure COVID-19.
The Court was hearing an appeal against the directions issued by the Kerala High Court to take actions against Homeopathic doctors, who prescribe any drug as a cure for COVID-19 disease should be proceeded with under the provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005. The Court had held that Homeopathic doctors can only prescribe medicines as immunity booster.
The Supreme Court, however, took note of the advisory dated 06.03.2020 and the specific stand taken by the Ministry of AYUSH that Homeopathic medical practitioners are not confined to prescribe Homeopathic medicines only as immunity booster. It noticed that the Ministry of AYUSH specifically permits use of Homeopathy for following three ways:-
(i) Preventive and prophylactic;
(ii) Symptom management of COVID-19 like illness;
(iii) Add on interventions to the conventional care.
The Court further said that the Guidelines refer to Homeopathy medicines as medicines for prophylaxis, Amelioration and mitigation. The guidelines, however, specifically provides that “the prescription has to be given only by institutionally qualified practitioners”.
“When statutory regulations itself prohibit advertisement, there is no occasion for Homeopathic medical practitioners to advertise that they are competent to cure COVID-19 disease. When the Scientists of entire world are engaged in research to find out proper medicine/vaccine for COVID-19, there is no occasion for making any observation as contained in paragraph 14 with regard to Homeopathic medical practitioners. The homeopathy does not cure the disease, but it cures the patients.”
It, hence, held that the High Court in its impugned judgment has not fully comprehended the guidelines dated 06.03.2020 and taking a restricted view of the guidelines and have made observations for taking appropriate actions against the Homeopathic medical practitioners, which cannot be approved.
It was, however, noticed that the High Court was right in its observation that no medical practitioner can claim that it can cure COVID-19.
“There is no such claim in other therapy including allopathy. The High Court is right in observing that no claim for cure can be made in Homeopathy. The Homeopathy is contemplated to be used in preventing and mitigating COVID-19 as is reflected by the advisory and guidelines issued by the Ministry of AYUSH as noticed above.”
[Dr. AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeo Pharmacy v. Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1022, decided on 15.12.2020]
*Justice Ashok Bhushan has penned this judgment.
For Appellant: Advocate Venkita Subramoniam,
For Respondent: Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta