A substantial difference between Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors’ compensation ranges often goes unnoticed in the wide world of healthcare. While both of these disciplines of medicine serve critical roles in people’s health, their pay packages are vastly different. This fascinating phenomenon raises multiple issues concerning the value assigned to various medical disciplines, the mechanisms behind these pay disparities, and the implications for healthcare as a whole. The Supreme Court has upheld the unique pay schedules for Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors in a momentous ruling that has sent shockwaves throughout the medical profession. This ruling represents a watershed moment in the ongoing debate about the pay of healthcare professionals operating in various disciplines of medicine. In this article, we look at the Supreme Court’s ruling and the underlying circumstances that inspired it, diving into the many facets of this complicated topic. This article provides a thorough examination of the complex web of reasons that explain wage disparities in the medical industry, as well as an examination of the broader implications of this verdict for the future of healthcare.
Medical Officers’ Association (Ayurveda) v. State of Gujarat & Anr.
Petitioner: Medical Officers Association (Ayurveda)
Respondents: State of Gujarat & Anr.
Court: Supreme Court
Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Abhay S. Oka & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pankaj Mithal
Case no.: Civil Appeal No.8556 Of 2014
Date of Judgement: 31 October, 2023
Details About the Review Petition:
- The Gujarat High Court order held that practitioners possessing a degree of Bachelor of Ayurved in Medicine and Surgery are to be treated at par with Doctors holding MBBS degrees.
- On April 26, 2023, A two-judge bench comprising Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal set aside the Gujarat High Court order.
- The Petitioner has filed a review petition against the order of the two-judge bench.
- The National Commission for Indian System for Medicine had also sought modification of the judgement of the two-judge bench.
In earlier rulings, the Supreme Court underscored the distinct capabilities and limitations of each medical system. “We shall not be understood to mean as though one system of medicine is superior to the other,” the Court stated. It is neither our mandate nor our competence to evaluate the relative merits of these two medical science systems.”
The Court further stated that MBBS doctors are educated to help in intricate surgical procedures, which Ayurvedic practitioners are not. “Therefore, we have no doubt that every alternative system of medicine may have its pride of place in history,” the Court added. However, practitioners of indigenous systems of medicine no longer do complex surgical procedures. Ayurvedic studies do not qualify them to do complex surgical procedures. Ayurvedic research does not authorise them to undertake these procedures.
The Court also emphasized the practical contrasts between allopathic and Ayurvedic doctors’ functions. The Supreme Court then ruled: “Therefore, even while recognising the importance of Ayurveda doctors and the need to promote alternative/indigenous systems of medicine, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that both categories of doctors are certainly not performing equal work to be entitled to equal pay.”
“We have read the Judgment and Order dated April 26th, 2023, which has been requested to be reviewed.” There is no obvious inaccuracy on the record. Even otherwise, there is no basis for review,” wrote a bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal in dismissing the review petitions. The Supreme Court has dismissed review petitions filed against its decision that Ayurvedic practitioners are not entitled to the same salary as Allopathy doctors.
The Supreme Court finally ruled: “Therefore, even while recognising the importance of Ayurveda doctors and the need to promote alternative/indigenous systems of medicine, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that both categories of doctors are certainly not performing equal work to be entitled to equal pay.”
Broader Implications of This Verdict for Future Healthcare:
The Supreme Court’s decision to preserve separate pay rates for Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors has far-reaching ramifications for the future of healthcare. While the ruling addresses remuneration directly, its broader implications echo across the healthcare business and can be evaluated from a variety of perspectives:
- Recognition of Diversity in Medical Systems: The ruling acknowledges and reinforces the variety in the medical industry. It emphasizes the significance of recognizing diverse medical systems, each with its own set of strengths and contributions. This recognition paves the way for a more inclusive healthcare environment in which different systems can work and complement one another, ultimately providing patients with a broader selection of treatment alternatives.
- Professional Autonomy: By preserving unique pay scales, the ruling protects both Ayurvedic and Allopathic practitioners’ professional autonomy and integrity. This recognition is critical for maintaining the integrity of each medical system and encouraging healthcare practitioners to follow their individual principles and skills.
- Emphasis on Specialization: The emphasis on specialization in medical education and practice is emphasized in the verdict. It emphasizes the fact that different disciplines of medicine necessitate diverse educational and training paths. This recognition may result in a greater emphasis on specialization within each profession, ensuring that doctors are more qualified to treat patients in their chosen speciality.
- Collaboration and Cross-Training: The verdict may inspire increased collaboration and cross-training among healthcare practitioners from many disciplines in order to provide complete healthcare. This may result in a more holistic approach to patient treatment, in which practitioners draw on the capabilities of diverse systems to address complicated health concerns.
- Regulatory and Policy Changes: The decision may result in regulatory and policy changes to meet the distinct roles and duties of practitioners from various medical systems. This may necessitate revisions to licensing procedures, continuing education requirements, and accreditation criteria in order to assure patient safety and the highest quality of care.
- Public understanding and Education: The decision may help to raise public understanding of the variety of medical systems and their potential. Patients may become more knowledgeable and discriminating about their healthcare options, resulting in a more patient-centred approach to healthcare delivery.
To summarize, the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold separate pay rates for Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors has far-reaching consequences that go beyond compensation. It emphasizes the significance of recognizing and valuing diversity in the healthcare industry, and it lays the groundwork for a more inclusive, specialized, and collaborative future for healthcare. This decision marks a watershed point in the growth of healthcare in India, underlining the necessity for a flexible, equitable, and comprehensive healthcare system capable of meeting a wide range of healthcare requirements.
Finally, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling establishing separate pay scales for Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors marks a watershed point in the ongoing discussion regarding wage inequities in the healthcare sector. The verdict stresses that while both Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors play important roles in the healthcare system, their education, competencies, and obligations are vastly different. The Court’s comprehensive analysis of these discrepancies, as well as its recognition of the historical significance of Ayurvedic medicine, led to the conclusion that comparable remuneration is not warranted. This ruling emphasizes the importance of a sophisticated approach to medical remuneration that takes into account the distinct contributions and roles of various medical disciplines. It serves as a reminder of the significance of recognizing and appreciating the diversity of healthcare workers and their areas of competence. This decision has far-reaching repercussions for the healthcare business, providing light on the difficult subject of doctor remuneration in various medical systems.
This article is written and submitted by Sanskar Singhal during his course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Sanskar is a 5th Year BBA LLB student at Geeta Institute of Law, Panipat.