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Slamming the Centre for meting out unfair treatment to two government-run colleges teaching Indian systems of medicine in Tamil Nadu, the Madras high court on 12th March, Monday quashed the closure orders issued to them. Ordering resumption of classes at the Government Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai, and the Government Ayurveda Medical College, Kottar in Kanyakumari district, Justice V Ramasubramanian traced the entire history of the Indian medicine systems and the need to give a fillip to them.
Pointing out that these government institutions were not run on profit motive, the judge said any adverse decision against them would put the indigenous systems of medicine in the intensive care unit (ICU), and that too in an allopathic hospital. The Union health ministrys department of AYUSH had denied permission to the two colleges to conduct classes in the academic year 2011-12, citing the non-compliance of minimum standards norms issued by the Centre on March 18, 2011. The main reasons cited for the decision, which rendered the scores of students high and dry, were shortage of teaching faculty and non-occupation of at least 50 per cent of the bed strength as required. The Centre justified the controversial decision saying the original permission was conditional in nature and that classes were conducted beyond November 4, 2011 despite an advisory to the state government not to conduct classes. Justice Ramasubramanian, in his 76-page order, traced the origin and development of the indigenous medical systems, and their decline during the colonial era due to systematic campaign against them. The AYUSH norms require a siddha college with an intake of 100 students to have 52 teachers at the under-graduate level. Its post-graduate programme shall have 12 teachers for 60 students pursuing six specialties. The judge, noting that there is nothing wrong in the central agency attempting to achieve high standards, wondered whether expecting a college to have a teacher-student ratio of 1:2 at UG level and 1:5 at PG level was a utopian dream on the part of the AYUSH. Government colleges do not run on profit motive. On the contrary, a government college teaching alternative systems of medicine has to be seen in the context of the initiatives taken by several governments globally to nurture, protect and preserve alternative indigenous systems of medicine, Justice Ramasubramanian observed. As for legal submissions, the judge pointed out that the norms had not even been notified but they were sought to be applied on these two institutions retrospectively. As for factual issues, Justice Ramasubramanian said the colleges did fulfill the requirement of 90% staff strength and 50% bed occupancy. But their cries fell on the deaf ears, as the AYUSH cancelled their recognition.
Courtesy: Times of India
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