PMDC’s 2019 admission regulations restored

Updated October 22, 2019

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LHC suspends single bench's decision, restores admission regulations framed by now defunct PMDC. — APP/File
LHC suspends single bench's decision, restores admission regulations framed by now defunct PMDC. — APP/File

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday suspended a decision of a single bench and restored admission regulations 2019 framed by the (now-defunct) Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC).

A single bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti had on Oct 14 set aside the 2019 admission regulations and ruled that the PMDC had not been vested with any power under its ordinance 2019 as it then was to amend the protected MBBS and BDS (admission, house job and internship) regulations, 2018.

“Therefore, the action of the respondents relating to the amendments made in the said regulations by virtue of ordinance, 2019 are hereby declared ultra vires, void ab-initio and without lawful authority having no legal backing,” the single judge ruled and declared that excluding impugned amendments the admission shall be made on the basis of the formula given in protected regulations, 2018 framed by the acting PMDC on the direction of the Supreme Court.

Several dual national Pakistani students had challenged the amendments in the regulations for being unconstitutional and contrary to their fundamental rights.

The PMDC challenged the decision through an intra court appeal, which the division bench headed by Justice Ayesha A. Malik heard and granted the stay.

Representing the appeal, its legal adviser Barrister Chaudhry Umar argued that the single bench passed the impugned decision beyond facts. He said the PMDC had the powers to make and amend the regulations. Therefore, he said no illegality or irregularity had been committed nor modification in the existing regulations was beyond the scope of its power.

He further said the petitioners/students accepted the policy, appeared in entry tests and when failed to obtain required percentage according to new formula approached the court challenging the regulations.

Advocate Mian Aslam, representing one of the petitioners, argued that the PMDC stood dissolved after the president promulgated a new ordinance replacing it with Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC). He said since the appellant (the council) was a non-existent body the matter should be put off till final decision by the government as formal notification of the PMC was yet to be issued.

However, the bench observed that the decision assailed through the appeal was in field.

The counsel further argued the ordinance 2019 was presented by the government for its approval in the parliament but it lost its life on account of its withdrawal from the process of authorisation from the parliament.

He said the power to amend, modify or repeal regulations was missing in the ordinance, therefore, the council was not competent to validly amend or modify the admission regulations.

After hearing both sides, the bench suspended the decision of the single bench and restored admission regulations-2019. The bench sought detailed arguments on next hearing to be fixed by the office later.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019