Delhi HC Rejects PIL for Ayurveda and Yoga in Ayushman Bharat scheme

The petition advocating for the incorporation of Ayurveda, yoga, and naturopathy into Ayushman Bharat, the country's public health insurance scheme, was rejected by the Delhi High Court. The decision was made by a bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, following the representation of the petitioner, advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. "Even after Passover, none is present for the petitioner. Dismissed in default", said the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora.

On November 2, the high court served notice to the Union ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Ayush, Finance, and Home Affairs, as well as the Delhi government, directing them to submit their counter-affidavits in connection with the public interest litigation. The plea aimed at incorporating ayurveda, yoga, and naturopathy into the National Health Protection Mission, specifically Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), commonly known as Ayushman Bharat, with the goal of safeguarding the citizens' right to health.

Ayushman Bharat, which was launched in 2018, has two main components - PM-JAY and the Health and Wellness Centres. Under PMJAY, health coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family per year is provided. The plea sought that the scheme be implemented in every state and that Indian healthcare systems be covered under it. Such inclusion, it said, would allow a significant portion of the country's population to avail affordable healthcare benefits and wellness in various serious diseases, without any harm and at low rates, and provide employment to thousands of people in the field of Ayurveda.

"PM-JAY, that is, Ayushman Bharat predominantly covers and is limited to allopathic hospitals and dispensaries, while India boasts various indigenous medical systems, including ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, Siddha, Unani and homeopathy, which are rooted in India's rich traditions and are highly effective in addressing the healthcare needs of the present time", it said.

"Unfortunately, due to various policies created by foreign rulers and individuals with a colonial mindset, our cultural, intellectual knowledge and scientific heritage have been systematically eroded. Along with this, these foreigners, motivated by a profit-oriented approach, have thoughtfully implemented many laws and schemes during the time of our country's independence that have slowly undermined our rich heritage and history", the plea, which was dismissed, said.