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"Even though Siddha Doctors are independently curing Covid patients successfully and Tamil Media is reporting the same promptly, English media is not giving any importance and recognition to such news", the Court said.
The Madras High Court on Thursday pulled up the Government for sidelining Siddha Medicine while exploring ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and VM Velumani was dealing with a habeas corpus plea for the release of a Siddha medical practitioner alleged to have produced a cure medicine for COVID-19 when it observed,
"It is found that Siddha Medicine is not given its due recognition by the Department of AYUSH as well as by the State Government. Unfortunately, the State Government is also not promoting Siddha Medicine and recognizing Siddha Medical Practitioners."
The Bench went on to remark that the role of Siddha medicine has also been downplayed by the English media. The order passed on Thursday states,
The Bench added, "It seems the vested interests are acting against development of Siddha and that is the reason why the Siddha medicines are not properly promoted and published in media."
The Court observed that there are many instances were Siddha practitioners have developed medicines for COVID-19 and other illnesses, but which has not been examined by the State Government, compelling such practitioners to approach the Court.
"The apathetic attitude exhibited by the Government is not going to help the Siddha Doctors or the Government or the public in general. When a solution is being given by Siddha Doctors, they should be encouraged and proper research has to be done", tt added.
In the course of its order, the Justice-Kirubakaran led Bench also recalled a recent case where a Siddha practitioner who claimed to have devised a treatment was only taken seriously by the State following the intervention of the Madurai Bench.
In line with the Court's directions, the State Government analysed the medicine and later stated that the said Siddha medicine had anti-viral properties. The drug was then sent to the Union AYUSH Department for analysis.
In that case, the Bench of Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendhi had observed,
The Madurai Bench also added, "What is required is some more patronage to the Siddha medicine for its Research and Development … The development of our indigenous medicine will not only be beneficial for our people, but for the entire mankind."
The Bench, however, also sounded a note of caution over fake medicines being peddled as cures amid the pandemic, which results in discrediting the indigenious medicinal system.
The plea before the Madurai Bench, concerning a treatment dubbed IMPRO, was disposed of with a direction that the Centre test the efficacy of the drug. The Bench has asked for a report from the Centre on the medicine by August 3.
On Thursday, the Principal Bench of the Court took the issue a step further and directed the Government authorities to respond to the following queries:
How many Siddha Doctors have, so far, given samples of Siddha drugs developed/produced by them for treating Covid 19 infection for testing/analysis?
How many medicines have been analysed?
How many such medicines have been found to be containing anti-viral properties?
How many such medicines have been recommended to the Department of AYUSH for testing/ analysis/approval so far?
Whether AYUSH department has tested Siddha drugs and sent report regarding the efficacy of the drugs?
How much is the allocation of fund made for development of Siddha system of Medicine and Research for the past 10 years by the State Government?
Are there any research facilities and institutes available in the State of Tamil Nadu for research and development Siddha Medicines?
Whether proper experts have been appointed in those research institute for research work?
What are the details of allotment of funds made by the Department of AYUSH to various systems of Indian Medicine viz., Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy for the past 10 years?
How many research institutes/centres of each Indian Medicine Systems have been established?
Whether infrastructure facilities for conducting researches are provided in all the Centres/institutes in respect of each system of medicine?
Is there any indigenous medicine developed as a cure for any illness in Indian alternative medicines on par with allopathy medicine?
What are the plans of the Department of AYUSH and the State Government for the development of indigenous system of medicine?
Whether proper steps have been taken by the Department of AYUSH as well as the State Government to encourage people to avail alternate system of medicine which has no side effects when compared to Allopathy?
The AYUSH Ministry has also been impleaded as a party. The matter will be taken up next on July 23.