Decided on September 25,1996



Sardar Ali, Acting Chairman - (1.) THIS order shall dispose of an enquiry instituted under Sections 36A, 36B(c) and 36D of the Monopolies & Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (hereinafter referred to as Act) and Regulation 58 of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission Regulations, 1974 (Old) (hereinafter referred to as Regulation) against M/s. Medical College of Alternative Medicines, (hereinafter referred to as respondent). THIS enquiry is based on a statutory application made by the Director General of Investigation & Registration (hereinafter referred to as DG) under Section 36B(c) of the Act. Finding a prima facie case on the basis of the said application, the Commission vide its Order dated 9th May, 1988 directed the issuance of Notice of Enquiry. Pursuance to the aforesaid Order, the Notice of Enquiry dated 6.6.88 was issued to the respondent which, inter - alia, reads as under: "The above -mentioned applicant has submitted an application under Section 36B(c) of the MRTP Act against the respondent which has given it self a high -sounding name of "Medical College of Alternative Medicines" and claims to have been registered under Societies Registration Act, XXVI of 1961 of Government of West Bengal. Ostensibly it is engaged in providing educational facilities in the field of so -called alternative system of medicines. A copy of the application dated 2nd May, 88 is enclosed. The application states that the respondent released an advertisement in "The Times of India" dated 25th February, 88 inviting "non -registered doctors" to avail of its services. The following advertisement in - ter -alia was as under: 1. As per registered by -laws by the Government of West Bengal (Rule 12(a) of the Council) Registration Certificates (RMP) are being issued to all Physicians in the field of Alternative System of Treatment by registering their names on the basis of experience.
(2.) REGISTERED (RMP) Physicians will be empowered with the following: (i) To practice all over India in his own field. (ii) To issue Medical Sick Certificates as per Rules 13(a) and 13(b) of the Council. Registration (RMP) Certificates are being issued on priority basis. The DG alleges that the respondent is engaged in the illegal activities of issuing fake certificates under the title "Registration (RMP) Certificate" holding out the false promise that the certificate entitled them "to practice all over India in his own field." According to the Medical Council of India the respondent is a fake organisation and its action is illegal and unlawful. The false and misleading claims about the quality, standard, utility and uses of the certificates issued by the respondent thus prima -facie constitute unfair trade practices within the meaning of Section 36A (1) (ii), (iv) and (vi) of the MRTP Act. These activities are causing loss or injury not only to the "non -registered doctors" who would only get a fake certificate but also to patients who have the misfortune of being treated by such certificate holders." 2. The Commission on the application of the D.G. under Section 12A of the Act, vide Order dated 13th May, 1988 issued an ex -parte ad in -terim injunction restraining the respondent from indulging into the restrictive trade practices of making false and misleading claims about the quality and standard of its services, in media or any other publicity material as referred to in the order. The said ex -parte interim order was made absolute till the disposal of the enquiry after hearing the respondent vide Commission's order dated 2.8.88. The respondent filed the reply to the Notice of Enquiry in the shape of written statement only the respondent has, inter -alia, stated that the respondent is affiliated to the Council of Alternative Medicines, 378 Gangoli Bagan, East Road, Calcutta -700084 (hereinafter referred to as Council) to which no notice has been issued and as such the activities of the Council are not therefore within the purview of the present proceedings; that the Council is registered under the Societies Act, 1860 and is entitled to carry all its legitimate activities in accordance with the aims and objects; that an institution affiliated to the said Council the respondent College can legally carry on its activity in the filed of education and research in alternative medicines; that conferment of decree and diploma is a necessary concomitant of the activities of an institution in the field of education and research; that the conferment of decree / diploma in the field of alternative medicines by a society like the Council is not prohibited by or under any other law; that the Indian Medical Council has no jurisdiction to recognize or not to recognize the activity of the council and Indian Medical Council is only empowered to regulate education and conferment of decree and practice of Allopathic medicine referred to as modem scientific medicine in the Indian Medical Council Act; that just as Homeopathy and Ayurveda or Unani Systems of medicine were never within the jurisdiction of the Indian Medical Council, the institution imparting education in alternative medicine are not within its jurisdiction; that alternative medicine is now regarded as useful compliment to Allopathic Medicine and Surgery and the ancient and traditional systems prevalent in various countries as well as some newly developed systems are comprised in the alternative medicine; that there is nothing in law preventing education and research in alternative medicine; that the respondent college as qualified staff to teach various kinds of Alternative Medicine and literature in the field is available in its library; that there is nothing unfair in the advertisement put in by the respondent and as such there is no unfair trade practice to which the power of the MRTP are altercation: that Indian Medical Council was not entitled to call the respondent college 'fake' institution and the college only promotes education and research in alternative medicine over the education and practice of which the Indian Medical Council has no jurisdiction; that the Indian Medical Council has only made the complaint because of professional jealously and in the protection of vested interest of all the practitioners of Allopathy; that the practice of alternative medicine is recognised in the advanced western countries and vast literature exists and is developing in the field of alternative medicine; that the respondent has challenged the proceedings before the Commission in the Calcutta High Court and the interim order of the High Court directs that no final order be passed; that recently the respondent college has detained affiliation by the International Council of Alternative Medicine, i.e. MEDICINA ALTERNATIVA.
(3.) THE D.G. has filed rejoinder to the written statement submitted by the respondent and contradicted the statement of the respondent and reiterated the averments made in the Notice of Enquiry as well as in his application under Section 36B(c). Besides, the D.G. has also moved an application for discovery and production of documents on oath by the respondent. These documents are as follows: (i) Annual accounts and balance sheets of the respondent for the years 1986, 1987 & 1988. (ii) Advertisements released by the respondent for the price and other journals during 1986,1987 and 1988.;

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