THE HOMOEOPATHY CENTRAL COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

Author: Yashaswi Shah, 2nd Year, LL.B., Jitendra Chauhan College of Law, Mumbai The article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us. INTRODUCTION TO THE BILL: The bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha had such amendments to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973[1] as enunciated in this document. It was introduced on June 21, 2019 by the Minister of State, Ministry of AYUSH, Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik. The Bill replaces and thus repeals the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance[2] dated March 2, 2019. The Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2018[3] amended the 1973 Act to further add such sections after Section 3, with respect to the supersession of the Central Council. According to the 1973 Act, as amended in 2018, under Section 3A (2), once superseded, the reconstitution of the Central Council must take place within a period of one year. The 2019 Bill alters and increases such a period of one year to two years. Thus, the text of the Bill states that the time period for reconstitution of the Central Council after it is superseded is to be increased from one year to two years. OVERVIEW OF THE PRECEDING AMENDMENT OF 2018:[4] The purpose of the Act is to regulate the education and practice of homoeopathy by the Central Council which is instituted under the Act. The Central Council’s responsibilities included an array of duties like ensuring transparency, improving the quality of education provided by the colleges falling under the Act, promotion of Information Technology at such colleges, maintaining and safeguarding the standard of practice in the field of homoeopathy and more. Due to the failure in performance of its duties, the 2018 amendment thus provided for the supersession of the Central Council. The amendment introduced Section 3A and its sub-sections describing the supersession of the Central Council, the time-limit for its reconstitution, the substitute in-charge in absence of a Central Council, etc. Thus, through a notification in the Official Gazette, the Central Government shall constitute a Board of Governors consisting of not more than seven persons from the field of Homoeopathy. The amending Act also provides for travelling and other allowances to such Board of Governors for each sitting. All rules and procedures applicable to the Central Council shall be similarly applicable to the Board of Governors. The 2018 Amendment[5] also introduced Section 12A[6] which requires an individual who has instituted a Homoeopathy Medical College or in any Homoeopathy Medical College, a higher course of study is introduced on or before the commencement of the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2018[7], to seek prior permission from the Central Government within a period of one year. In Sendhwa Homoeopathic Medical College vs. Union of India and Ors.[8], one of the contentions of the petitioners was that the order passed was not in conformation with the HCC Act, 1973[9] and for making final decisions, the Central Government / Ministry of AYUSH has to be referred to. But the High Court of Madhya Pradesh, in the matter, held that no decision was taken suo-motu by the respondents against the petitioners. In fact, it was held by the court that a case of interference cannot be made in this particular case as the impugned order passed was in consonance with the recommendations of the expert body, being the Board of Governors. FAULT IN THE PRECEDING AMENDMENT / REQUIREMENT OF THE 2019 BILL The Central Council failed, in not only fulfilling its duties but also lacked in cooperating with the Central Government regarding the same. This further led to its super session which was promulgated through the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 which was eventually repealed by the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2018[10]. Following the 2018 amendment, the Board of Governors replaced the Central Council for a period of one year or until such reconstitution of the Central Council as may be prescribed. Further, the one-year period for reconstitution of the Central Council proved futile due to lack of maintenance of State Registers of Homoeopathy. Additionally, on January 7, 2019, the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019[11] was introduced in the Rajya Sabha by the Central Government, to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973[12]. The Bill was further referred to the Standing Committee, resulting in failure to reconstitute the Central Council in the prescribed time period. Although, the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance of 2019[13] was promulgated by the President on March 02, 2019 due to the urgency of the matter and the Parliament not being in session. The Bill thus solely provides for the extension of a one-year period to a two-years period for the reconstitution of the Central Council. THE 1973 ACT, AT A GLANCE: This act extends to the whole of India and the object of the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 is the constitution of the Central Council of Homoeopathy which regulates and monitors the education and practice of homoeopathy. With 33 Sections, this act covers multiple aspects such as definitions of the word ‘Homoeopathy’, ‘Central Council’, ‘Central and State Registers of Homoeopathy’, etc., code of conduct or professional etiquettes for the practitioners of Homoeopathy and more. The Act encompasses the mode of election of the members of the Central Council, provisions for the meetings held by them, restrictions thereof, etc. This statute also takes into consideration and provides for the educational institutions for Homoeopathy formed under the Act, the medical qualifications given by these colleges and the minimum standard of education required in the field of Homoeopathy. CONCLUSION: The reconstitution of the Central Council must include doctors and learned professionals from the field of Homoeopathy. Since the State Registers weren’t maintained in the manner prescribed, the time-limit maintained by the 2018 Amendment[14] stood insufficient. The streamlining and proper monitoring in the field of Homoeopathy is the need of the hour and it is only essential for the Statute to institute a credible Central Council in place of the interim Board of Governors. The transparency and quality of education provided by the medical colleges registered under the Act requires utmost attention and hence, the increase in the time period for reconstitution of the Central Council is a more viable option than compromising on the quality of responsibility this designation holds. Additionally, the purpose behind introducing the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill in 2019[15] was in a way, to provide for a one stop solution to cater to the problems faced by the education system under the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. Thus, the requirement of a quality system is inevitable to solve the pertinent issues in the field of Homoeopathy as a whole. Considering that the field of medicine is one of the most essential aspects for the better functioning of a nation, head on research facilities, newer ideas as well as proper grievance redressal cells become of utmost importance, which is one of the many things that the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill 2019, solves. REFERENCES: [1] The Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, No. 59, Acts of Parliament, 1973 (India). [2] March 02, 2019, The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, Ministry of Law and Justice, No. 11 of 2019. http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/199051.pdf [3] August 13, 2018, The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2018, Ministry of Law and Justice, No. 23 of 2018. http://www.egazette.nic.in/writereaddata/2018/188510.pdf [4] Ibid. [5] Supra, n.4. [6] The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Act, 2018, Section 12A. [7] Supra, n.4. [8] Sendhwa Homoeopathic Medical College vs. Union of India and Ors. 2018 W.P. No. 25353/2018. [9] Supra, n.2. [10] Supra, n.4. [11] The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019.
https://www.prsindia.org/sites/default/files/bill_files/Nationl%20commission%20for%20Homoeopathy%20bill%2C%202019.pdf [12] Supra, n.2. [13] Supra, n.3. [14] Supra, n.4. [15] Supra, n.12. DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions as expressed in the Research Articles are solely of the author and any member of the core team of the website shall not be liable for the same.

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