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The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to examine the objections of several physiotherapists who are seeking implementation of the government's decision on establishing an independent council for them. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said it would be appropriate to consider the objections of the physiotherapists before finalisation of the the Draft Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill 2017. The court was hearing a petition by a number of physiotherapists, who said they belonged to a different category and cannot be clubbed with technicians or x-ray technicians. One of the petitioners and physiotherapists Haider Khalid submitted that they not only rehabilitated but also diagnosed and treated patients and their functions were much wider than those performed with other functionaries as technicians and radiologists. The plea sought implementation of a decision taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to create an independent council under the central government with separate cells for physiotherapists and occupational therapists. The court was informed by central government Standing Counsel Monika Arora and advocate Harsh Ahuja that they had received a communication on September 7 that the Draft Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2017 was pending consideration before the authorities. The bench said "it would be appropriate if the objections of the petitioner are considered before finalisation of the bill.
We may note that in case, the bill is finalised and notified without consideration of the several aspects pointed out by the physiotherapists as well as their associations, the same may lead to unavoidable challenges by way of writ petitions after the enactment take force." It has listed the matter for hearing on November 17. Advocate Tanya Agarwal, appearing for the petitioners, sought a direction to the government to recognise physiotherapy as a distinct and independent profession and to consider the demand of physiotherapists for a separate regulatory body akin to the various other councils. It said the decision should be taken within a specified time frame. The plea also sought to declare section 2(h) of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 to be unconstitutional to the extent to which it excludes 'physiotherapy' from the recognised systems of medicine. As per Section 2 (h) of the Act, the recognised system of medicine means Allopathy, Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha and Unani systems of medicine or any other systems of medicine as may be recognised by the Central Government.
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