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Quacks cannot escape criminal proceedings, implies HC

Chennai: Taking a very tough stance against quackery as well as crosspathy, the Madras High Court, has refused to quash Criminal proceedings against a Siddha Practitioner who had claimed to be possessing “divine powers”, including mystical powers, to cure all diseases.

The order came with regards to court cases, which were filed in 2010 against one Vijayakumar, a Siddha Practitioner who had appeared in a television programme claiming his ‘magical powers’ to cure ills, and stating he had the grace of Goddess Meenakshi. Following the claims, many patients approached him and had paid huge sums of money demanded by him for curing their ailments. In one of the cases, his daughter and son-in- law joined him in fleecing those who came for treatment. When the victims realized that they were being taken for a ride, an FIR was registered and Vijayakumar was arrested reports  the Hindu.

Recently, during the hearing on one such cases, the counsel for the practitioner submitted that the doctor had returned the money to the complainants and hence, the prosecution against him and the co-accused must be quashed.

The court however, taking a strong stance refused to quash any criminal proceedings against him, rather directed the central crime branch police Chennai to expedite the investigations against the accused.

The court observed

…..On a reading of the FIRs in each of the cases, this court finds that each of the victims had approached Vijayakumar with serious ailments… he had relieved them of huge sums of money……..

…..Return of money cannot efface the offence of fraud and cheating committed by quacks…….

During the proceeding the issue of quackery as well as crosspathy came up, with the Vijayakumar stating that he was a qualified siddha doctor and that he could not be prosecuted for an offence under the Medical Council of India Act for practising allopathy, as he did not practice allopathy.

Rejecting his defense, the court stated, “The issue as to whether a native doctor can practice Allopathic treatment or any other system of medicine came up for consideration before the Supreme Court in Private Medical Practitioners Association vs. State of Tamil Nadu and others [(S.L.P. (Civil) Nos.1162 of 2004) which made it clear that these doctors cannot be permitted to practice either modern medicine or any other system of medicine.”

“Since each of the FIRs discloses commission of fraud and cheating, the same cannot be quashed in the light of the law laid by the Supreme Court in State of Haryana vs. Bhajan Lal [1992 Supp (1) SCC 335],” the court said.