Paltry fine on conviction lets Ayush quacks flourish

Paltry fine on conviction lets Ayush quacks flourish

Just Rs 100

 At a time when the State is battling the menace of growing number of quacks in the field of medicine, the penalty imposed on a fake Ayush practitioner is just Rs 100. This has remained the same for years, even after several representations were given to the government by experts to increase the penalty.

With a very small period of imprisonment and minimal fine, there is no fear in the minds of people, say genuine practitioners. According to Section 36 of the Karnataka Act 9 of 1962, quacks shall, on conviction, be punished with a fine which may extend to Rs 100 on the first offence, Rs 500 for the second offence and an imprisonment not exceeding two years and a fine not exceeding Rs 1,000 for every subsequent offence.

Increasing penalty was among the amendments sought by the Ayush Medical Practitioners Board. Dr Thimmappa Shettigar, registrar, Karnataka Ayush and Unani Practitioners’ Board, said that this had been a long-standing request by the practitioners to the government.

In a proposal submitted to the government recently, the Board said, “Since the penalty is very low, several fake doctors are reported to be practising throughout the State. To curb this, the penalty should be increased.”

“Several other proposals that we had made have been considered. The government must look into this as well, since it is the need of the hour,” said Dr Shettigar. They have sought that the fine be increased to a minimal Rs 25,000 for the first offence, Rs 2.5 lakh and five lakh for subsequent ones.

The demands are long standing, said Dr Raju Shet, president of the Karnataka Government Ayush Medical Officers’ Association.

“A proposal was sent in this regard back in 1999. Nothing has been done about it so far. They have to increase the fine at least 100 times,” he said.

Dr Shet pointed out that the fee paid by the Ayush department to advocates who fight these cases in court is no less than Rs one lakh. “When a person is convicted, he is just warned and a minimal fine is collected. After that, he is spared. The fee should be hiked to instil fear in the minds of the people,” he felt.

Doctor registrations

So far, under the biometric system of registration, 33,700 Ayurveda doctors, 1,840 Unani doctors, 633 Yoga and naturopathy practitioners, four Siddha practitioners and 12,000 homeopathy doctors have registered themselves.

Dr Raju Shet President of Ayush Officers’ Association: A proposal was sent in this regard back in 1999. Nothing has been done about it so far. They have to increase the fine at least 100 times

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