Case Study

Physiotherapist cannot Prescribe Allopathic Medicines

Rajesh K Ranjan v. Delhi Medical Council

W.P.(C) 5390/2016, decided by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 14-9-2016.

Facts: The petitioner filed the petition seeking quashing of order dated 11-4-2016 whereby the petitioner was directed to stop practising modern scientific system of medicine (Allopathy) forthwith and to close down his physiotherapy clinic contending that he was a qualified physiotherapist registered under the Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Act, 1997 and had been engaged in the profession of providing assistance to patients in recovering from their various ailments by use of physiotherapy and occupational therapy and that the Physiotherapy Centre was running for more than 18 years; that the Centre was run under the guidance of doctors duly qualified and registered with the Delhi Medical Council and only consultation regarding allopathic medicine stream was provided by them, denying that the petitioner was practising the modern scientific system of medicine. It was also contended that the impugned order closing down the physiotherapy clinic was beyond the purview and scope of the powers of the Delhi Medical Council.

Counter: That the Council acted in accordance with Section 10(h) of the Delhi Medical Council Act, 1997 which empowers the Council to perform such duties and functions as are prescribed by the said Act; that it is obligatory on the respondent to ensure that no unqualified person practices the modern scientific system of medicine; that the petitioner, in his physiotherapy clinic, had prescribed certain allopathic medicines on his letterhead; that the respondents have only directed closure of the physiotherapy clinic to ensure that the petitioner does not prescribe allopathic medicines or practice the modern scientific system of medicine; and that appropriate proceedings for breach of the provisions of the Act had already been initiated by the respondent.

Observations: The Act empowers the Medical Council to ensure that no unqualified person practices the modern scientific system of medicine. Admittedly, the petitioner is not qualified to practice the modern scientific system of medicine and is not registered with the Delhi Medical Council and the petitioner cannot prescribe allopathic medicines, which only a qualified doctor can. Since the petitioner is registered as a qualified physiotherapist with the Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, the petitioner cannot be refrained from carrying on the said profession, provided the petitioner complies with the Rules and Regulations of the Delhi Council for Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. The impugned order insofar as it directs closure of the physiotherapy clinic of the petitioner is concerned, impinges upon the right of the petitioner to carry on his profession as a physiotherapist in accordance with law. This is not the purport of section 10(h) of the Act.

Held: The action of the respondent in closing down the physiotherapy clinic cannot be sustained. The purpose of the respondent, Delhi Medical Council, can be achieved by permitting the petitioner to carry on the physiotherapy clinic with the condition that the petitioner shall not practise the modern scientific system of medicine from the said physiotherapy clinic. The petitioner shall ensure that the petitioner does not unauthorisedly or illegally practice or permit the practice of the modern scientific system of medicine from his clinic. The petitioner shall ensure that in case any medicine is prescribed to the patients coming to the clinic of the petitioner, the same is prescribed only by qualified doctors duly registered with the Delhi Medical Council. The writ petition is disposed of in the above terms. It is clarified that no opinion has been expressed on the merits of the proceedings initiated by the respondent against the petitioner for alleged breach of the provision of the Act, which proceedings shall be dealt with by the concerned authority/court in accordance with law, without being influenced by anything stated herein. It is further clarified that this order has been in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case and will not be construed as a precedent in respect of orders passed by the Delhi Medical Council for closure of clinics run by quacks.

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