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Supreme Court Issues Notice On Medical Technologists’ Plea To Implement National Commission For Allied & Healthcare Professions Act

On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a notice in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the implementation of the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions (NCAHP) Act, 2021. The PIL, which was listed before a bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra, specifically seeks for the implementation of Section 22(1) which provides for the establishment of professional councils and state allied and healthcare councils.

The bench issued notice in the PIL saying that the issue raised was an important one. CJI DY Chandrachud, dictating the order, said–

Issue notice. Returnable in 3 weeks. Liberty to serve central agency in addition. We request the learned Attorney General to depute any Additional Solicitor General to assist this Court since the Petition relates to non-compliance with the provisions of the National Commission for Allied & Healthcare Professions Act, 2021“.

Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appeared for the petitioner.

The PIL has been filed by the Joint Forum of Medical Technologists of India (JFMTI). It asserts that even though the NCAHP Act came into force on May 25, 2021, even after two years, its provisions had not been implemented. According to the petitioners, as per the initial timeline, the State Councils should have been constituted within six months. However, the Central Government repeatedly extended the timeline for its implementation and granted five such extensions due to which the Act was still not implemented. The PIL argues–

Instead of implementing the provisions of the NCAHP Act, the central government has extended the timeline for implementation of the said provisions of the NCAHP Act after every six months and there have been five such extensions till date.

Further, the PIL submits that the absence of an institutional framework for certifying degrees and diplomas from recognized institutions posed a hurdle for job opportunities and thus, the need for standardizing syllabi, curricula, teaching staff, and institutions had become evident. This is what lead to the proposal for the establishment of a council to set standards for previously unregulated categories.

Health workforce in Indian healthcare system has been defined with focus limited to few cadres such as doctors, nurses and frontline workers, wherein, several other healthcare professionals being the Allied Health professionals remained unidentified, unregulated and underutilized over these years. The persistent demand for a regulatory framework to ensure appropriate regulation and standardization of such professions has been seen for several decades“, adds the PIL.

The plea has been filed by Advocate-on-record Joby P Varghese assisted by Advocate Upamanyu Sharma.

It may be noted that a similar plea had also been filed in 2021. The said plea sought for the implementation of the Act to enable ordinary people, particularly rural people, to differentiate between doctors of Modern Medicine (Registered Medical Practitioners under the Indian Medical Council Act) and Rural/Private Medical Practitioners.

Case : Joint Forum Of Medical Technologists Of India (Jfmti) & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. [W.P.(C) No. 983/2023]. (Agencies)

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