LAHORE: The Supreme Court once again came down on medical institutions on Wednesday as it suspended the vice chancellor of Faisalabad Medical University and summoned the son of Punjab Governor Rafiq Rajwana for offering admission to a woman lawyer’s acquaintance in a private college on condition that she would not agitate the matter before the court.

Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) president Shabbir Lehri and chief executive officers of several private medical and dental colleges were present in the court when a two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar resumed the hearing of a suo motu case against an inflated fee structure of medical institutions.

During the hearing, CJP Nisar kept regretting and saying every answer to the court’s query was a new revelation for him.

“Do you take students to the hospitals on buses?” the chief justice asked the representative of one medical college affiliated with three teaching hospitals. He observed that in the past the colleges and teaching hospitals used to be at one place so that students could study and learn simultaneously.

Summons Punjab governor’s son for offering admission to a student in private college

CJP Nisar was also shocked to learn that private colleges and universities had been conducting admissions on their own merits instead of a centralised programme. He expressed wonder when an official of Fatima Memorial Medical College revealed that it charged around Rs900,000 per year for MBBS.

The chief justice said that a day earlier he was told that Rs642,000 per year had been fixed by the PMDC for MBBS, but the colleges had been collecting excessive fee from students. At one point, CJP Nisar observed that it would be a clear dishonesty if this court did not bring lost things back to people.

The temperature of the courtroom went up when a woman lawyer told the bench that the vice chancellor of Faisalabad Medical University and the son of Governor Rajwana had been making phone calls and texting her to offer admission to a student among her acquaintances if she refrained from discussing the issue in court.

The chief justice ordered the immediate appearance of Asif Rajwana, the governor’s son, and arrest of the university vice chancellor, Prof Dr Farid Zafar, who was present in court. However, he restrained police personnel from arresting the VC and asked him angrily, “Did you call her, why did you call her?”

The bench issued a contempt of court notice to Dr Zafar and restrained him from functioning as vice chancellor till further order.

CJP Nisar also expressed dismay over violation of the stay order regarding further admissions in unregistered private medical colleges.

Earlier, CEOs of Fatima Memorial Hospital, Continental Medical College, Shalimar Hospital, Azra Naheed Medical College, Pak Medical & Dental College, Akhtar Saeed Medical & Dental College and University of Lahore appeared before the court and submitted affidavits regarding compliance with the rules and regulations.

The bench summoned the CEO of Sharif Medical Complex as no one appeared to represent it. The chief justice asked the PMDC registrar to find out who was the owner of the medical complex.

The bench also took notice of illegal construction of Hameed Latif Hospital and sought appearance of its chief executive officer at the next hearing. It also summoned the LDA director general with the construction plan of the hospital.

Professor Dr Faisal Masood submitted to the court a report on the three-year merit and analysis of performance of King Edward Medical College University.

The chief justice said that now the Supreme Court would decide the fee structure of medical colleges and impose heavy fine on the owners of colleges if they were found involved in any illegal activities. He observed that the court wanted to see quality medical education in the country and directed the Lahore High Court registrar to shift all litigations about the PMDC to the Supreme Court. “We are ready to hold courts on Saturdays and Sundays,” the chief justice said, adding that the court was bound to protect the rights of the citizens.

The son of the governor did not appear till the rising of the court and directive was issued for his personal appearance on Thursday (today).

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2017