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    New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday made the Indian Medical Association (IMA), a body of practitioners of modern medicine, a party to the proceedings in a public interest litigation seeking introduction of a holistic healthcare system that includes yoga and a clutch of ancient prophylactic and curative treatment offered by ayurveda and unani medicine. A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan allowed an impleadment application by the IMA after the petitioner, lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, said he has no objections.

    “Present application is allowed. Respondents, including the newly impleaded respondent, will file their replies,” the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora said.

    In April 2022, the high court had sought the Centre’s stand on adopting an “Indian holistic integrated” approach in the area of medical education and practice instead of the “colonial segregated way” of having different streams of allopathy, ayurveda, yoga and homeopathy etc.

    Upadhyay, in his PIL, has said the adoption of a holistic approach in the medical field — which would be a combination of modern and traditional medicine at the level of education, training, practice, and policies and regulations — would secure the right to health guaranteed under Articles 21, 39(e), 41, 43, 47, 48(a), 51A of the Constitution and improve the country’s doctor to population ratio as well as the health care sector.

    The petitioner has said an integrated health system is present in several countries including China, Japan, Korea, and Germany, and claimed coordination of all medical systems will benefit patients.

    “We have an alternative force of medical professionals who have always been neglected by the Government and are capable of providing a supporting hand to uplift our health care status”.

    “There are 7.88 lakh Ayurveda, Unani, and Homeopathy (AUH) doctors. Assuming 80 per cent availability, it is estimated that 6.30 lakh AUH doctors may be available for service and considered together with allopathic doctors, it gives a doctor population ratio of around 1:1000.” it added.

    It said practitioners of modern medicine have remained confined to their niche area and are unable to reach the benefits of other therapeutic regimens to their patients.

    The petitioner has claimed the “expanded pharmaceutical industry” was having a negative impact on the healthcare system, and said the “so-called revolutionary medical innovations have in long-run proven to be dangerous causing severe and long-term side-effects but Centre is not introducing a Holistic Integrated Healthcare System”.

    “An Integrated Health System is the only solution to achieve the sustainable health goal of India. Commonly preferred allopathic medicine is chiefly comprised of approximately 40 per cent plant-derived components (USDA Forest Service 2021). If allopathic medicine is originally made of constituents of AYUSH then why not, we can accept them directly as part of our regular medicinal support system,” the petition said.

    The high court had last year asked a Niti Aayog Committee to expedite the process for formulating a policy for an integraed medical system.

    It had made the Medico Legal Action Group and yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Research Institute parties to the proceedings.

    The matter would be heard next on May 13.

    • Published On Feb 1, 2024 at 04:51 PM IST

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