The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that no government can discriminate between practitioners of allopathy and Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (Ayush) and directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to pay Ayush practitioners on par with allopathy doctors under the Central Health Scheme. A bench of Justices L N Rao and Hrishikesh Roy said if the central government has enhanced the retirement age of allopathic practitioners to 65 years and it has been implemented by NDMC, it cannot deny the Ayush practitioners employed under it the benefit of increase in the age of superannuation.
NDMC contended that classification of Ayush doctors and doctors under CHS under different categories was reasonable and permissible in law. Rejecting the argument, the bench said, “This however does not appeal to us and we are inclined to agree with the findings of the Tribunal and the Delhi High Court that the classification is discriminatory and unreasonable since doctors under both segments are performing the same function of treating and healing their patients.”
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Roy said, “The only difference is that Ayush doctors are using indigenous systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, etc and CHS doctors are using allopathy for tending to their patients. In our understanding, the mode of treatment by itself under the prevalent scheme of things, does not qualify as an intelligible differentia. Therefore, such unreasonable classification and discrimination based on it would surely be inconsistent with Article 14 of the Constitution.”