LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday set aside admission regulations 2019 by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and directed the University of Health Sciences (UHS) to offer admissions as per previous regulations of 2018.
Announcing a reserved verdict, Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti allowed several petitions and declared that the impugned regulations, namely MBBS/BDS (admissions, House Job And Internship) Regulations 2019 were ultra vires to the Constitution.
Kinza Hamid, Maleeha Syed and other students, having dual nationality, had moved the petitions challenging the new regulation for being discriminatory and contrary to their fundamental rights.
Lead counsel Mian Aslam and Rizwan Mushtaq argued on behalf of the petitioners and stated that the PMDC had introduced amendments to the previous regulation through its ordinance promulgated in 2019, changing the basic criteria of admission for overseas Pakistani in particular. They said the petitioners had passed their O&A levels examination in Pakistan; however, later acquired dual nationality of different countries. They said the previous regulation gave due weight to performance of students in O&A levels or in regular national scheme of secondary school and higher secondary education.
Asks it to offer admissions to medical colleges as per previous rules
The counsel pointed out that definition of dual nationality holder, as per the previous regulations, was a Pakistani citizen holding dual nationality with valid domicile of Punjab, with pre-medical equivalent examination either from abroad or Pakistan, and having passed SAT-II or MCAT.
However, they said, the PMDC, through the impugned ordinance, had changed the regulations and criteria for admission for dual national candidates excluding result of O level or matriculation in calculation of merit for session 2019-20. The quota given to the dual nationals having better foreign qualification forming an intelligible class for the purpose of computing merit for admission was also abolished under the impugned new regulations, they added.
The counsel argued that the PMDC unlawfully amended the regulations through an ordinance that was also not approved by the parliament. They further argued that the regulations could not be applied to candidates who either already taken admissions or completed their matriculation/O level before the amendments.
They asked the court to strike down the regulations of 2019 for being unconstitutional and order the respondents to apply to previous regulations on the petitioners for admission to MBBS and BDS.
A counsel for the PMDC had opposed the petitions and argued that the council was legally empowered to make regulations.
However, the judge allowed the petitions and struck down the 2019 admission regulations. He had on Oct 1 issued a stay order and restrained the UHS from completing admission process.
Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2019