India– The respondent approached the appellant for treatment of her son’s seizures. After examination, the respondent prescribed certain medicines. Instead of improving, the patient’s condition deteriorated over a period of time despite reassurance by the respondent. It was alleged that the respondent was passing off Allopathic medicines as Ayurvedic medicines; that he was a quack and guilty of medical negligence, criminal negligence and breach of duty as he was playing with the lives of innocent people without understanding the disease. Moreover, he was prescribing Allopathic medicines that he was not competent to prescribe.

The respondent denied the allegation stating that he had obtained an Ayurvedacharaya degree. After examination of the Appellant’s son he prescribed medicines, namely, ‘Phenobarbitone’ or ‘Phenobarbital’ and ‘Wafera’ which are Allopathic as well as ayurvedic medicines and which are considered to be an appropriate drug for epilepsy patients. It was alleged that the Appellant failed to administer the medicines as prescribed by him. Also, that she consulted various other Doctors simultaneously for treatment of her son. As regards the entitlement of respondent to prescribe allopathic medicine, he relied on a letter issued by Secretary, Medical Education Department, Government of U.P. to suggest that the Ayurvedic/Unani Practitioners practicing Ayurvedic System are also authorised to use allopathic medicines under U.P. Indian Medical Council Act, 1939.

The court found that there was no such Act known as U.P. Indian Medical Council Act, 1939 but there was an Act known as U.P. Indian MedicineAct, 1939. Respondent nowhere pleaded that he was registered with the Medical Council or enrolled in the State Medical Register. The Appellant and patient suffered physical and mental injury due to the misleading advertisement, unfair trade practice and negligence of the respondent. They were thus entitled for an enhanced compensation for the injury suffered by them.

Please see the following judgment on this topic: Bhanwar Kanwar v. R.K. Gupta (Supreme Court of India, 2013)

Author: Vikrant Narayan Vasudeva

Photo by Mary Harrsch/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0