Who is a Medical Practitioner or Doctor?

Last updated on Jun 21, 2022

A Medical Practitioner is a professional who practices medicine through the study, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of any disease or injury or other impairments. As per Indian law, a registered medical practitioner is a person whose name is found in the State Medical Register of any State, and who possesses the required medical qualifications.(( Section 21, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956))

However, a Physician is a Doctor with qualification of MBBS, or MBBS with post graduate degree/ diploma, or with equivalent qualification in any medical discipline. Only a doctor having a qualification recognized by the Medical Council of India and registered with the Medical Council of India/State Medical Council(s) can practice the  modern system of Medicine or Surgery.(( Regulation 1.1.3, Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002))


Doctors are registered medical practitioners under the law if they:

  • Hold recognized medical qualifications granted by Universities or Medical Institutions listed in the Indian Medical Council Act.(( Section 2(h), Indian Medical Council Act, 1956)) A list of recognized universities can be found here.
  • Hold recognized medical qualifications granted by certain other Medical Institutions, also listed in the Act. A list of these institutions can be found here.
  • Enrolled with the State Medical Register(( Section 15, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956))
    or the Indian Medical Register,(( Section 21, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956)) and have received a registration number.

If the medical degree is from a foreign university degree, an Indian citizen possessing primary medical qualifications awarded by a foreign medical institution must clear a screening test,(( Section 13(4A), Indian Medical Council Act, 1956)) in order to be registered with either the Medical Council of India or State Medical Council. Further, you can find a list of  recognized foreign universities here.(( Second Schedule, Indian Medical Council Act, 1956))

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