Doubting that vested interests were acting against the development and promotion of Siddha form of medication, the Madras High Court on Thursday directed the State government to spell out whether it plays a vital role in curing COVID-19 patients.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and V.M. Velumani issued the direction on a habeas corpusfiled against the detention of a Siddha hospital administrator under the Goondas Act for having circulated a video accusing the government of not having done anything to contain the pandemic.

In their interim order, the judges said, Siddha medication was not being given due recognition either by the Union Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) or the State government.

Anti-viral properties

The result was that many Siddha doctors had to approach the High Court seeking a direction to the government to test their medicines and it was only after one such direction issued by the Madurai Bench of the High Court, the government found out anti-viral properties of a Siddha medicine.

“Even though Siddha doctors are independently curing COVID-19 patients successfully and Tamil media is reporting the same promptly, English media is not giving any importance and recognition to such an important news about the native medicine,” the judges lamented.

If the medications developed by Siddha practitioners were not promptly sent to the Ministry of AYUSH for analysis by the State government, the very purpose of having established Siddha institutes and colleges in the State would be lost, the Bench added.

Apathetic attitude

Penning the order, Justice Kirubakaran said: “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 given by Siddha doctors, they should be encouraged and proper research has to be done.”

“So far no Indian doctor or researcher has developed any medicine for any disease… As far as Siddha field is concerned, no comprehensive research is made and adequate facilities are not provided. The Ministry of AYUSH and the State government have to look into the issue more seriously.”

He directed both the Centre and State governments to file comprehensive reports by July 23 listing out the medications given to COVID-19 patients as well as the native medicines prescribed to boost immunity.

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