PESHAWAR, Aug 24: The Peshawar High Court on Friday sought comments from the Khyber Medical University registrar and the chairman of the government medical colleges’ joint admission committee (JAC) on a writ petition, which challenged non-provision of mandatory six per cent quota in the province’s medical colleges to the students of scheduled castes.

A bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Shahjehan Akhundzada directed the two respondents, the KMU registrar and the JAC chairman to produce the sought-after comments within a week.

The petition is filed by a student from a schedule caste, Nayyab Jawed, whom the JAC denied admission to medical colleges of late.

The girl challenged the provision of 0.5 per cent quota for minorities in medical colleges in the province.

Shah Faisal Uthmankhel, lawyer for the petitioner, said KMU and JAC violated the provisions of the Scheduled Caste (Declaration) Ordinance, 1957, subsequent notifications issued by the federal government and judgments of the superior courts while okaying admissions to medical colleges.

He said in prospectuses of medical colleges, KMU allocated no quota for scheduled caste students and mentioned only 0.5 per cent quota for religious minorities.

Mr Uthmankhel said the said ordinance declared that special status would be given to members of scheduled castes and that included six per cent quota in employment.

He requested the court to direct KMU and JAC to follow the said ordinance and the relevant superior court judgments in letter and spirit and allow admission to his client.

The lawyer said the Government of India Act, 1935 stated that the scheduled castes totaling around 41 should be given special concessions so that they could be brought on a par with other religious communities.

He said the said Act was also adopted at the time of creation of Pakistan and later, the same thing was mentioned in the 1956 and 1962 constitutions of the country.

The lawyer added that in the meantime, the Scheduled Castes (Declaration) Ordinance, 1957 was promulgated.

He said in 1997, the then government abolished the six percent quota for the scheduled castes and instead reserved it for all the minorities.

According to him, the move was set aside by the Sindh High Court whose decision was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2006 after the federation filed an appeal against it.

The petitioner said the provincial and federal government departments were violating the six per cent quota reserved for scheduled castes against the Constitution and the commitment of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to religious minorities.—Bureau Report

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