In a recent development, the Supreme Court has set aside a High Court order that mandated equal stipends for PG students of Ayurveda and allopathy. The apex court ruled that PG students of Ayurveda do not perform the same duties as those in the allopathy field and therefore should not be entitled to the same stipend.
The controversy arose when the Kerala High Court directed the state government to ensure that PG students of Ayurveda receive the same stipend as their allopathy counterparts. The High Court’s decision was based on the argument that both Ayurveda and allopathy students undergo similar educational programs and should be treated equally.
The high court had observed that the state had failed to establish that the students pursuing postgraduate course in ayurveda are of different class than that of students pursuing postgraduate course in allopathy. “It was, therefore, found that the state was indulging in a discriminatory practice. A mandamus was, therefore, issued to the State to treat the students pursuing postgraduate in ayurveda stream at par with the students pursuing postgraduate course in allopathy stream”, noted the apex court.
PG Students : The apex court accepted the contention of the state government counsel.
The bench relied on its 2023 judgment, which said “even while recognising the importance of ayurved doctors and the need to promote alternative or indigenous systems of medicine, we cannot be oblivious of the fact that both categories of doctors are certainly not performing equal work to be entitled to equal pay”.
However, the Supreme Court disagreed with this reasoning, highlighting the fundamental differences between the two fields. Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that focuses on holistic healing using natural remedies, while allopathy is a modern medical system that uses drugs and surgery to treat diseases.
The Supreme Court emphasized that the duties performed by PG students of Ayurveda are specific to their field and do not involve the same level of complexity and risk as those performed by allopathy students. The court stated that the stipend should be commensurate with the nature of the work and the responsibilities involved.
While recognizing the importance of Ayurveda and its contribution to healthcare, the court noted that it would be unfair to equate the two fields in terms of the stipend. The judgment highlighted that the stipend for PG students in Ayurveda should be determined based on the nature of their work and the prevailing norms in the field.
This decision by the Supreme Court has sparked a debate among medical professionals and students. Some argue that the ruling undermines the value of Ayurveda and fails to recognize the efforts and expertise of Ayurvedic practitioners. They believe that equal stipends would have encouraged more students to pursue Ayurveda and contribute to the field.
On the other hand, proponents of the Supreme Court’s decision argue that it is essential to differentiate between the two fields and acknowledge their unique characteristics. They believe that equal stipends would have created an imbalance and disregarded the specialized training and skills required in allopathy.
It is important to note that the Supreme Court’s decision does not diminish the significance of Ayurveda or its role in healthcare. Ayurveda has been practiced for thousands of years and continues to provide valuable alternatives and holistic approaches to healing. The court’s ruling simply recognizes the distinctions between Ayurveda and allopathy and ensures that the stipend reflects the specific duties and responsibilities of each field.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to provide equal stipends to PG students of Ayurveda and allopathy rests with the respective governments and regulatory bodies. It is crucial for these authorities to consider the unique aspects of each field and make informed decisions that promote fairness and encourage the growth of both traditional and modern medical systems.