Notices issued to federal, provincial authorities on medical students’ plea against admission tests

Updated 15 Oct 2020

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The Sindh High Court has issued notices to the federal and provincial authorities concerned on a petition filed against admission tests for medical and dental universities and colleges. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File
The Sindh High Court has issued notices to the federal and provincial authorities concerned on a petition filed against admission tests for medical and dental universities and colleges. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the federal and provincial authorities concerned on a petition filed against admission tests for medical and dental universities and colleges.

Some students petitioned the SHC and contended that a tug of war between the federal and provincial authorities had resulted in confusion about the syllabus and criteria of national Medical and Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) and provincial tests.

The petitioners submitted that the federal authorities were set to conduct the national MDCAT in the second week of November without fulfilling mandatory legal criteria of setting up an academic board, which would be without legal effect and unlawful being ultra vires of the recently enacted Pakistan Medical Council Act.

Similarly, they further contended that the provincial authorities were going to hold provincial test on Oct 18 under the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Admission Regulations and maintained that the same would also have no legal effect since the PMDC Ordinance 1962 was being repealed and the PMDC was also being dissolved by virtue of the PMC Act.

The petitioners asserted that the provincial authorities had also not furnished the applicable syllabus and not properly explained the admission criteria, adding that under the PMC Act, neither the federal nor provincial authorities have lawful authority to determine admission criteria for private medical and dental universities and colleges in Sindh.

The federal authorities concerned have failed to constitute the academic board to formulate the national MDCAT, they said.

They contended that instead of amicably and timely resolving this controversy and confusion, it seemed that both sides were more interested in battling for their respective political and executive powers.

Both sides are supposed to exercise their powers and authority in conjunction, harmony and synergy in the best interests of people, the petitioners maintained.

They further argued that the failure of both federal and provincial authorities concerned to abide by and implement the PMC Act in letter and spirit at the expense of the petitioners and other students across the province was a gross violation of their constitutional duty under Article 148 of the Constitution.

The petitioners pleaded to declare the national MDCAT as well as the provincial test illegal and without lawful authority till fulfilment of all obligations mandated by the PMC Act, including public disclosure of its respective syllabus, testing criteria and weightage for admission to public medical and dental universities in Sindh. They also sought restraining order for respondents.

The two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar issued notices to the ministry of national health services, provincial secretary of health and their medical and dental academic boards for Oct 16.

Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2020