Karnataka Fails To Take Action Against 1,700 Fake Doctors

Bengaluru: A startling revelation has come to light nearly 17,00 fake doctors have been identified in the AYUSH department in Karnataka. Shockingly, despite these discoveries, no significant action has been taken against them so far.

While the responsibility to take action against these fake doctors lies with the district health officials under the Karnataka Private Medical Establishment (KPME) Act, it appears that mere notices are being issued to these individuals without any follow-up action. Out of all identified fake doctors, only a small fraction have faced legal consequences, leading to concerns over the increasing number of fraudulent medical practitioners.

One of the issues contributing to this rise is the misuse of registration numbers. When a doctor registered with the Karnataka Ayurvedic and Unani Vaidya Council (KAUP) either passes away or relocates to another state or country, their registration should be cancelled. However, it has been found that some fake doctors have managed to obtain certificates using these cancelled registration numbers.

The state has recorded over 1,700 cases of fake doctors across various fields including allopathy, naturopathy, ayurveda, and homeopathy. Border districts like Belgaum, Bidar, and Kolar have reported the highest number of such cases. There are allegations that some of these fake doctors are involved in practices that endanger lives, such as conducting illegal abortions. Patients visiting these fake clinics have reportedly suffered adverse health outcomes, with some even losing their lives.

To curb this menace, stringent penalties have been set for fake doctors. A first-time offender can face a fine of ₹25,000, while a second offense could attract a penalty of ₹2.50 lakh along with a one-year imprisonment. For a third-time offender, the penalty increases to ₹5 lakhs along with three years of imprisonment.

District-wise data reveals that Kolar tops the list with 179 fake doctors, followed by Belgaum with 170, Dharwad with 70, Shimoga with 74, and Tumkur with 59. Other districts with notable figures include Kalaburagi (46), Mysore (54), and Chikkaballapur (45), among others. Even smaller districts like Madikeri, Chamarajanagar, and Ramanagara have reported cases.

Dr. Vivek Dorai, Deputy Director of the Health and Family Welfare Department,  told Siasat.com  that “Complaints against fake doctors have been registered in several districts, with some cases currently in court. The  DCs  are  also taking proactive measures. Among these cases, the majority are related to Ayush doctors. The rise in fake doctors is particularly prominent in border areas. Often, when these doctors sense trouble, they flee to neighboring states. However, we are collaborating with authorities in those states to bring them back for investigation, although our jurisdiction is limited.”

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