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Petition to declare rules regulating clinics as unconstitutional dismissed

The Madras High Court has dismissed a plea moved by a doctor seeking to declare the provisions of Tamil Nadu Private Clinical Establishments (Regulation) Rules, 2018, as not applicable to the consulting rooms of medical practitioners as it does not distinguish between hospitals and a consulting room.

Petition to declare rules regulating clinics as unconstitutional dismissed
Madras High Court


The first bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad, while dismissing the plea, said, “The purpose of the Act is to ensure proper functioning of clinical establishments in Tamil Nadu. A perusal of the entire Act would show that there are different requirements for different types of clinical establishments. The requirements have been well defined, and the rules stipulated cannot be said to be in any manner violative of the Constitution.”

“This court is unable to accept the arguments of the petitioner that the provisions of this Act are violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution (Right to practice any profession). It cannot be said that the said Act is so manifestly arbitrary so as to strike it down,” the bench said.

The petitioner D Dharmabalan, a registered medical practitioner practicing for the past 38 years, had submitted that the said Act and the rules do not distinguish between hospitals and a consulting room used by doctors to consult patients. This meant that the doctors operating from small consulting rooms would have to take approval from the Pollution Control Board for having a proper biomedical disposal system.

He also submitted that in a consulting room, there is no requirement to maintain any system for disposing biomedical waste. Moreover, there is also no necessity for maintaining a register on admission of patients. But the said Act and Rules treats unequal’s as equals, he said while noting that the consultation room does not form part of clinical establishment under the various Central Acts and any other State Acts.

Dharmabalan’s counsel also contended that the small medical practitioners, who offer consultation sitting in a small room, would find it extremely difficult to carry on their practice.

The, however, bench held that a perusal of the Annexure I to Rule 6 of the Rules, regards consulting rooms, does not prescribe such a requirement for having a proper biomedical disposal system. On the other hand, the norms required for maintaining a clinical establishment specifies that there must be facilities to segregate waste, dress etc. as per Government of India and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board norms, a condition, which is absent in the requirements made for consultation.

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