ISLAMABAD: The chief justice has taken suo moto notice of the exorbitant fee charged by private medical colleges and the lack of a uniform admission policy.

The Supreme Court also asked the registrar of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to submit a detailed report in a week.

Over the years, private medical colleges have increased fees by introducing a number of new charges, and are also accused of taking donations from students at the time of admissions.

The Supreme Court had in 2010 taken suo moto notice of the matter after which it was decided that the per student annual fee will be Rs550,000 which will be increased by 7pc in a year.

The fee was increased to Rs642,000 in 2013 but a number of promises private medical colleges had made- such as providing free treatment on 50pc of the beds in attached hospitals and some facilities for students- were not met.

In 2016, PMDC introduced a central induction system for students to stop private medical colleges from receiving donations but the colleges refused to implement this and obtained stay orders from various courts across the country.

The PMDC in 2017 started negotiations with the private colleges again and it was decided that the annual fee will be raised to Rs800,000 with the condition that they will provide all facilities and quality education to students and will not take donations from them.

The colleges were also directed to admit students through a centralised induction system.

However, last week a bench of the Lahore High Court consisting of Justice Jawad Hassan and Ayesha A. Malik allowed private medical colleges to admit students on their own as the current PMDC is not considered empowered to take such decisions.

According to an official SC statement issued on Monday, the PMDC has been directed to provide details of the admission merit criteria of private medical colleges, the structure of fee schedule and maximum limit of the fee charged, the role of the PMDC in regulating admissions and fee charges of private medical colleges and the action taken so far in this regard by the council.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2017