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HomeLegal NewsMadras High Court : Ayush doctors not entitled to perform ultrasound, pre-natal...

Madras High Court : Ayush doctors not entitled to perform ultrasound, pre-natal tests

Chennai : Justice S M Subramaniam of the Madras High Court dismissed petitions filed by AYUSH doctors and held that AYUSH doctors were not entitled to perform sonographies and other pre-natal diagnostic tests on pregnant women as they are not qualified to do so under the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act and Rules. The Court clarified that only those doctors who qualify within the meaning of Central PNDT Act are entitled for performing sonography and other pre-natal diagnostic tests.

The Court was hearing three writ petitions filed by the Tamil Nadu Association of AYUSH Sonologists. The Association in the petition claimed that they held recognized and valid degrees from recognized institutions and universities. The petition said that the diagnostic procedures were part of their curriculum. Also, the petition said that they have undergone courses in ultrasonogram and were fully qualified to carry out diagnostic procedures and ultrasonogram techniques on pregnant women as long as they do not undertake sex detection which is prohibited under the PNDT Act and Rules. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) which was one of the respondents supported the contention of the AYUSH doctors and said that there was no impediment for allowing them to perform the said diagnostic procedures.

On the other hand, the Tamil Nadu Government opposed the petitioners and submitted that the doctors should possess qualifications as mandated under the provisions of the Central PNDT Act to perform sonographies and other pre-natal diagnostic tests on pregnant women.

The High Court agreedwith the Tamil Nadu Government submission that the PNDT Rules of 2014 prescribed a specialized six month “Level one course on Fundamentals in Abdomino Pelvic Ultrasonography” for all MBBS doctors. The Court said that therefore the members of the petitioner Associations must also posses the qualification as required in the said Central Act. The Court further said “Mere prescription of general subject in the course of Ultra Sonogram would be insufficient to satisfy the minimum requirements as contemplated under the Special Act.” The Court order said that pre-natal diagnostic procedures were special procedures or treatments and therefore the special qualifications prescribed under the Central Act and Rules must be scrupulously followed by the competent authority. “The contention of the CCIM that as per the prescribed syllabus of BAMS, BUMS & BSMS of erstwhile CCIM now known as NCISM the basic knowledge of ECG, USG, X-Ray, CT scan, NRI are taught in the colleges would be insufficient and cannot be construed as prescribed qualification within the meaning of Special Central Enactment. Merely prescribing syllabus for diagnostic procedure or Ultra Sonogram/Ultrasound techniques cannot be considered as a prescribed qualification within the meaning of the Central Act and Rules,” the Court said.