Cong slams govt for delay in forming Central Council of Homoeopathy

The Congress slammed the government on Friday for the “inordinate” delay in constituting the Central Council of Homoeopathy, saying it is taking away the autonomy of such autonomous bodies, as it has done in the past with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the University Grants Commission (UGC). The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 seeks to further extend the time to form the Central Council of Homoeopathy by one year after exhausting two years for the purpose. Congress leader Ripun Bora, who initiated the debate in the Rajya Sabha, also raised objections against the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which is being discussed simultaneously with the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Besides, Bora also raised objections against the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks a year’s time to reconstitute the central council and provides for a board of directors to exercise its powers in the interim period. In 2018, the government brought an ordinance to supersede the Central Council of Homeopathy and appointed a board of directors to run the show. The government had done it after it had allegedly found that the president of the council had taken bribes for setting up a homeopathy college.

Initiating the debate on the two bills, Bora asked, “Why is the government taking three years’ time to constitute the Central Council of Homoeopathy? Why is there a deliberate and inordinate delay in setting up the council?” He alleged that “now the Ministry of Ayush has taken over the council. The autonomy of this council is taken away. The government has taken the autonomy of the RBI and the UGC…Jammu and Kashmir. That is why we are protesting against these bills.” He told the House that the government is buying time and now it wants to extend the period to constitute the Central Council of  Homoeopathy  from two years to three years. Explaining about the delay in forming the council, Health Minister  Harsh VArdhan  told the House while moving the bills, “There was no register of homoeopathy practitioners in the country and therefore, the council could not be constituted. In 2019, the government had to bring another ordinance (to extend the time).” Similarly, he said, “The government brought the national commissions for homoeopathy as well as ayurvedic systems…. They had to inspect the colleges in 2020…. They could not start functioning and  Parliament  was also not working due to COVID-19…. So this was the compelling reason (for bringing these bills) to ensure that the existing board of governors is able to carry out its duties.” The Homoeopathy  Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha  on September 14.

The bill seeks to amend the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. The Central Council of Homoeopathy was set up under the Act to regulate homoeopathic education and practice in the country. The bill replaces the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was promulgated on April 24. The 1973 Act was amended in 2018 to provide for the supersession of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

The central council was required to be reconstituted within a year from the date of its supersession. This provision was amended in 2019 to require the reconstitution of the central council in two years.

In the interim period, the Centre formed a board of governors to exercise the powers of the central council. The bill seeks to amend the Act to increase the period for the supersession of the central council from two years to three years.