New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has directed the city police to ensure that "no quacks are allowed to practice" in the national capital, saying that it affects the fundamental right to life of people.
A division bench of Justice P.K. Bhasin and Justice J.R. Midha also expressed concern over the functioning of anti-quackery cell, saying it has not carried out inspections and is making excuse of the non-availability of a government vehicle.
"This appears to be a very shocking state of affairs of the anti-quackery cell," it said.
In its order last week, the bench asked the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Delhi Police that fundamental right of people to get protection of life from unprofessional practitioners or quacks be looked into.
"Additional solicitor general shall also look into all aspects to ensure that no quacks are allowed to practice as it affects the very fundamental right to life of citizens under article 21 of the constitution," the court said.
During the hearing, the court also took into note a report filed by Delhi government's health department on the functioning of the anti-quackery cell.
The report accompanied with a chart stated the number of complaints received during 2012-2013 on the issue of quacks in the city.
"The table indicated that in west and north west district, the inspections were not carried out in respect of the majority of the complaints due to the non-availability of a government vehicle. This appears to be a very shocking state of affairs of the anti-quackery cell," the bench said in its order.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by a man, convicted of causing the death of a woman during an illegal abortion. The man who was a compounder in the clinic had been sentenced to five years imprisonment for causing death of a woman by an act intended to cause miscarriage. Dealing with the appeal, the court decided to take the issue of quacks prevailing in the city.
The bench also asked police to convene a meeting of the officials from its department, Delhi government, the Medical Council of India, the Medical Council of Delhi, the Central Council of Indian Medicine and other stakeholders to discuss the issue.
Filing a report, ASG Luthra also submitted a status report that under the Delhi Medical Council Act, police has registered 10 cases in the month of January 2014.
It also said that under the DMC Act, all doctors were required to display their registration numbers on a board outside clinics.
Earlier while ordering inspections, the court had observed that police could consider concentrating on the areas with populations of the poor as the quacks tend to dupe those people.