India has an agrarian economy with animal husbandry as a support system. Animal husbandry provides additional income to farmers and is an essential source of income for people without cultivable land. Policymakers were aware of the economic significance of livestock for individual owners and the national economy. They realised the necessity of providing affordable and scientific veterinary services for livestock by ensuring that only qualified veterinary practitioners offer them. Therefore, the Indian parliament enacted the Indian Veterinary Council Act of 1948.
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The Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1948
The Indian Veterinary Council Act of 1948 was enacted to regulate veterinary practice in India. The Act established the Veterinary Council of India and State Veterinary Councils in every state and required the national and state veterinary councils to maintain the registers of qualified veterinary practitioners in India and their respective states. The Act was enacted on 18th August 1948 following the President’s assent.
The Act consists of 67 sections divided into 8 chapters and broadly covers the following:
- Establishment and Composition of a National and State veterinary council
- Registration of veterinary practitioners
- Privileges of the registered practitioners
- Professional conduct
- Powers conferred upon Central and State governments
Objectives of the Act
The India Veterinary Council Act of 1948 has the following objectives:
- Establishment of Veterinary Council of India and State Veterinary Councils to regulate veterinary practice in India
- Empowering the central and state councils to lay down regulations for their conduct
- Setting provisions for appointment, nomination, and election of members of central and state veterinary council
- Setting the procedure for the registration of veterinary practitioners
- Standardising veterinary practice throughout India
Establishment and Composition of the Veterinary Council
Veterinary Council of India
Under Section 3 of The Act, the central government has established the Veterinary Council of India. This council is a body corporate with perpetual succession and carries a common seal. It can acquire, hold, or dispose of properties in its name.
The members of the council are as follows:
- One elected President from among the members of the Council
- One elected Vice-President from among the members of the Council
- Secretary of the Veterinary Council of India
- Animal husbandry commission of the central government
- Eleven elected members from among the veterinary practitioner registered with the Council
- One nominated member by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research
- One nominated member by the Indian Veterinary Association
- Nominated members by the central government including,
- Five members from among the Directors of animal husbandry from various states
- Four members from among the Heads of veterinary institutes from other states
- One member to represent the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy
- One member from among the Presidents of the state veterinary councils
- One member from among the Presidents of the state veterinary associations
A person without requisite veterinary qualifications can neither be nominated nor elected as a member of the Council.
The Council is a statutory body under the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairy, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy and is fully funded by the Government of India. Its primary role is to regulate veterinary practice in India and formulate regulations for that purpose and is also responsible for maintaining the standards of veterinary education.
State Veterinary Councils
Section 32 of the Act empowers every state government to establish a state veterinary council for the respective state. The State Council will consist of the following members:
- Four elected members from among the registered veterinary practitioners with the state council
- Heads of State Veterinary Institute
- Director of State Veterinary Services
- One nominated member by State Veterinary Association
- The State Veterinary Council’s registrar
Under Section 33 of the Act, two or more states can jointly establish a Joint State Veterinary Council. The members of a joint state veterinary council are nominated or chosen from each participating state.
The state veterinary councils have to maintain and regulate the standards of veterinary practices in respective states, and it is responsible for the registration of veterinary practitioners within the state and intimating the same to the central council.
Registration of Veterinary Practitioners
As per Section 23 of the Act, the Veterinary Council of India maintains a register containing the names of all individuals who have recognised veterinary qualifications and enrolled on the state veterinary register. This register is called the Indian Veterinary Practitioners Register.
The Secretary of the Council is responsible for periodically updating the Register on receipt of information from the state council. Based on the report provided by the state council regarding the registration of a person as a veterinary practitioner in the state, the Secretary has to enter the name of such person in the Indian Veterinary Practitioners Register.
The State Veterinary Council also maintains a State Veterinary Practitioners Register per Section 44 of the Act. This register must have the following details:
- Full name and Address of the practitioner
- Date of registration
- Educational Qualifications
- Professional Address
A person has to apply to the Registrar of the state council with the prescribed amount of up to Rs 25 for registration.
Certificate of Registration to Veterinary Practitioner
Under Section 25 of the Act, the Veterinary Council of India issues a Certificate of Registration to a veterinary practitioner after scrutinising the application made by the person. However, a certificate issued under this provision becomes invalid if the practitioner’s name is removed from the Indian veterinary practitioners’ register.
A practitioner can request a duplicate copy of the certificate if it is lost or destroyed. The Secretary of the council can issue such duplicate copies.
Privileges of Veterinary Practitioners
Chapter 4 of the Act provides certain privileges for the registered veterinary enrolled on the Indian Veterinary Practitioners Register as follows:
- Practice as a veterinary practitioner in any state
- Hold office as a veterinary practitioner or surgeon in a government institute
- Authenticate by signature a veterinary health certificate
- Recover any dues as fees, expenses, or any other payment for services rendered
Code of Professional Conduct
As per Section 31 of the Act, the Veterinary Council of India formulates the code of professional conduct and ethics for registered veterinary practitioners. The council can specify which conduct by the practitioner will constitute professional misconduct.
Penalty Under the Indian Veterinary Council Act
As per Section 55 of the Act, any person who falsely claims to be registered with the State Council or the Central Council and misuses this information for his benefit can be punished. The first-time offender has to pay a fine of up to Rs 500. On a subsequent offence, the person may face imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine of up to Rs 1000 or both.
Central Government and State Government Powers to Make Rules
Section 64 and 65 empowers the central and state governments to lay down rules regarding the following subjects:
- The establishment and composition of the Central Council
- Elections of members
- Terms of Office Bearers including President, Vice-President, and members
- Vacancies available at the Council
- Appointment of secretary and other staff members
- Fees and allowances made to the Office Bearers and other staff of the council
- Recognition of veterinary qualification by Indian and International veterinary institutes.
- Registration of veterinary practitioners and enrolment in Indian veterinary practitioners register
- Privileges of veterinary practitioners
- Code of conduct and ethics for veterinary practitioners
All such rules should be placed before both Houses of Parliament while in session for 30 days.
Power of the Council to Formulate Regulations
Under Section 66 of the Act, the veterinary council can bring regulations for furthering the objective of the Act as follows:
- Manner of election of President and Vice President of the Council
- Procedure for conducting meetings
- Terms and conditions of appointment of the secretary and other employees of the council
- Maintenance of the Register of veterinary practitioners by the council
- Application procedure and fee payable for registration with the council
- Code of professional conduct and ethics for registered veterinary practitioners
The Indian Veterinary Act has helped the government to identify qualified veterinary practitioners and punish those with fake certification and has ensured a high standard of veterinary services in India. The livestock population is as high as 536 million as of 2019, excluding millions of wild and pet animals. The Act ensures excellent veterinary care by registered veterinary practitioners for all animals in India.
FAQs on Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1948
What is the purpose of the Indian Veterinary Council Act of 1948?
The Indian Veterinary Council Act of 1948 aims to regulate veterinary practices in India by establishing the Veterinary Council of India and State Veterinary Councils.
What functions are performed by the Veterinary Council of India?
The Veterinary Council of India is responsible for registering veterinary practitioners in India and has to maintain the Indian veterinary council register. It performs other functions such as setting standards of veterinary education in India, laying down regulations regarding the election of members, fees and allowances.
What is the role of the Secretary of the Veterinary Council of India in the registration of veterinary practitioners?
The Secretary of the Veterinary Council of India is responsible for entering the name of a veterinary practitioner in the Indian veterinary practitioners register based on the application by the practitioner and the additional information provided by the state councils. The secretary also has the power to issue a duplicate copy of a registration certification on the receipt of an application.
What are the penalties under the Indian Veterinary Council Act of 1948?
A person falsely claiming to be a registered veterinary practitioner is liable for a fine of up to Rs 500 for the first offence. On a subsequent offence, the person can be imprisoned for a maximum of 6 months and pay a fine of up to one thousand rupees.