Naturopaths Cannot be Called Doctors: HC
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10 January 2010
The Gujarat high court has once again refused to recognise practitioners of naturopathy in the state as 'doctors'. For the past one decade, practitioners of naturopathy are approaching the court for the purpose, but the court has refused to direct the government to consider them as doctors.
In 2001, the high court had turned down an application by a naturopathy practitioner, Kalkisinh Duleray Godsan, who wanted to open an institute to impart education of nature cure practices. Godsan wanted the court to ask the government to recognise his institute and the degree so that his students too could be called doctors.
Godsan also demanded that criminal proceedings against him be dropped; he was booked for adding 'doctor' to his name. The court refused to interfere with the earlier observation that such naturopathy practitioners are members of one Nature Cure Practitioners' Association, and having its membership alone would not amount to acquiring specific qualification under any law. They should therefore not be declared doctors. "This would mislead the public and would be a gross abuse to the science of naturopathy as well," the court had noted a decade ago.
Another association of naturopathy practitioners, Prakrutik Chikitsak Sangh from Bhavnagar, approached the high court in August last year after the nature cure practitioners were asked by the registrar of Gujarat Medical Council to complete the formalities of registration with a competent body. The association urged the court to direct the registrar not to insist them for registration as naturopathy consultant. They wanted to practice naturopathy as doctors and called doctors too.
To their demand, the division bench headed by the chief justice remarked, "There is nothing on record to suggest under which law one can be permitted to practice naturopathy and can be conferred with title like doctor. How can a naturapthy practitioner be called a doctor? In the absence of any such provision brought on record, we are not inclined to express any opinion."
The court observed that the Centre is considering the regulatory framework for naturopathy and the discipline has been accepted as one of the AYUSH systems, and there is no central regulations to regulate naturopathy unlike in the case of Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha, which are regulated by the Indian Medicine Central Council Act. However, the high court has allowed them to approach the state government, which is already in the process of drafting an application to enact a law for the practice of naturopathy in the state.