AG gets week to file reply on pleas against PMDC dissolution

Updated November 09, 2019

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Court was told that PMDC's dissolution has rendered 400 employees jobless. — PMDC website/File
Court was told that PMDC's dissolution has rendered 400 employees jobless. — PMDC website/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has given the attorney general one week to submit a reply on identical petitions filed against the recent dissolution of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

The development came on Friday after Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani resumed hearing of the petitions and Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, National Health Services Secretary Allah Bakhsh Malik and a representative of the newly formed Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC), among others, appeared before the court.

The attorney general told the court that the National Assembly had on Wednesday passed the bill for PMDC’s replacement with the PMC and now the proposed law was being sent to the Senate for approval.

On Wednesday, a session of the lower house of parliament started after Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting of the parliamentary committee of his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the Parliament House, directing the party legislators to get all the bills to be tabled during the sitting passed, particularly the one aimed at replacing the PMDC with the PMC.

400 employees have been rendered jobless by this move, court told

Subsequently, all the 11 presidential ordinances were passed by the National Assembly within half an hour.

Abdul Rahim Bhatti, the counsel for the registrar and 30 other officials of the erstwhile PMDC, informed the court that with the dissolution of the PMDC, around 400 regular employees had been rendered jobless.

The attorney general informed the court that the government had not invited applications for the posts of the PMC. He, however, sought time to file a detailed reply.

The counsel for the PMC, on the other hand, said that since the Supreme Court and provincial high courts were also hearing the identical petitions, the IHC lacked the jurisdiction to take up this matter.

The court, however, directed the attorney general to furnish a reply in a week and adjourned the hearing.

The registrar of the erstwhile PMDC, retired Brig Dr Hafizud Din, and 31 other employees said in their petitions that though the PMDC could be dissolved through an act of parliament, its president, vice president and the executive committee would stay intact till the appointment of newcomers after the elections which were to be held within one year.

Moreover, the federal government was authorised to appoint an officer, not below the rank of BS-20, as an administrator to head the executive committee, the petition said. The administrator and the executive committee are to exercise the powers of the council till the constitution of a new council.

According to the petition, the apex court had in 2018 also set criteria for promulgation of an ordinance which have also been followed in the instant case.

It said: “The Senate of Pakistan on August 29, 2019 after due deliberation on the provisions of the Ordinance and voting…disapproved the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Ordinance 2019. However, the President of Pakistan has again promulgated the identical provisions of the PMDC Ordinance 2019.”

The petition went on to state that the services of PMDC employees had been terminated without giving them a proper opportunity of hearing. It expressed the apprehension that the newly formed PMC might hire the services of new employees against the sanctioned and contractual positions through another mode which would jeopardise the vested rights to serve the previous employees of the PMDC.

It requested the court to declare the ordinance for establishment of the PMC unconstitutional and in the meanwhile allow the former employees of the PMDC to continue working in the newly formed commission.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019