PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has taken notice of reported monetary demands made by private sector colleges in the province and asked the advocate general to appear before it and suggest how to stop medical education from becoming a commercial activity.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar fixed Mar 3 for the next hearing into the issue, observing that reports suggest that some medical colleges have practically put seats of medical course on sale, whereby millions of rupees are being charged from aspirants for the purpose.
It asked advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt to attend the next hearing to suggest ways to prevent the medical education from becoming a commercial activity.
During the hearing, the bench questioned whether the Pakistan Medical Commission had given a freehand to the private colleges to become commercial entities.
Takes note of alleged donation demands for admission
It took notice of the issue while hearing a petition seeking orders for domicile restriction for admission to private sector medical and dental colleges in the province.
Petitioners Laiba Javed and 33 other students have sought several reliefs from the court related to the Admissions Regulations (Amended) 2020-21, which provides for the centralised admission policy for the public and private medical and dental colleges in the country.
The petitioners have requested the court to direct the provincial government to exercise its executive power to declare that only students of the province will be given admission to the local private medical and dental colleges on the basis of domicile and over all merit.
They also challenged Clause 18 of the regulations to the extent of 20 per cent interview marks for admission to private colleges requesting the court to declare it unconstitutional.
The petitioners also sought the court’s orders for the government and PMC to give admission to students on the basis of the ‘overall merit’ and ensure that the restriction of 60 per cent passing marks in the MDCAT test don’t block admission to the province’s medical colleges.
Advocate Waseemuddin Khattak appeared for the petitioners and contended that the PMC had issued the Admission Regulations (Amended) 2020-21, whose Clause 16 declared that domicile restriction may be imposed by the provincial governments of the province for only in private medical and dental colleges and not in public sector colleges.
He contended that if 100 per cent domicile restriction was not imposed by the government, most seats would be occupied by students from Punjab leading to an acute shortage of doctors in the province in future.
The lawyer pointed out that there was a huge difference between FSc exam marks obtained by Punjab and KP students, which could be proved from results of position holders of educational boards in the two provinces.
He claimed that in Punjab, they had marks mostly in range of 1080-1090, whereas in KP education boards, only toppers mostly had marks within range of 1040-1050.
The lawyer said according to tentative list issued till now, KP had only 208 students with 90-plus aggregate, while 6349 students in Punjab had 90-plus aggregate.
He said Clause 18 of the Admissions Regulations provided 20 per cent marks for interview in private colleges, which was against the law as there were no interview marks for taking admission in public sector colleges.
The lawyer claimed that giving 20 per cent marks for the interview in the private sector would also open floodgate for corruption and bribery in the shape of donations.
Deputy attorney general Amir Javed said it was in the domain of the provincial government to put domicile restrictions for admission to private medical colleges.
He added that the government had already fixed 90 per cent seats for students of the province for such admissions.
Waseemuddin Khattak claimed that the 90 per cent admission restriction hadn’t been followed by private colleges on different pretexts.
He added that some colleges had been demanding hefty amount as donations from admission seekers.
Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2021