PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa advocate general to produce a report about the alleged monetary demands made by private medical colleges to students for admissions.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Syed M Attique Shah observed that some private medical colleges had become money-minting machines and thus, playing with the future of the deserving students.

It fixed Mar 25 for the next hearing into a petition seeking orders for domicile restriction for admission to private medical and dental colleges in the province and declaring illegal the assigning of 20 per cent interview marks for those admissions.

Few days ago while hearing the present petition filed by Laiba Javed and 33 others the court had taken notice of reports about monetary demands made by private medical colleges in the province for admissions and asked advocate general Shumail Ahmad Butt to appear and suggest how to stop medical education from becoming a commercial activity.

The bench asked the advocate general what was happening in the province during admissions to the private medical colleges observing that it has reports that the seats of some colleges were up for sale.

Observes some colleges are minting money

The AG said there were reports about some private colleges receiving hefty amounts from students as donations.

He added that as 20 per cent interview marks had been assigned to private colleges and therefore, they had been misusing that provision.

Mr Butt said the government had received 16 complaints against a private college that its management had been demanding hefty amounts of money for admissions.

He pointed out that after the court had expressed concern about the issue, the provincial government had published advertisement asking students that if they had any grievance about the sale of 20 per cent marks of interview against any college, they should file a complaint for immediate action.

Counsel for the petitioners Wasimuddin Khattak said only for private medical colleges, 20 marks had been reserved for interview giving them a freehand to manipulate the merit, whereas no such marks were assigned to public sector colleges.

The bench observed why a freehand had been given to private colleges.

It observed that after receiving report from the AG, it would issue appropriate order to check such malpractices.

Deputy attorney general Amir Jawed appeared for the federal government, whereas advocate Munim Khan represented the Pakistan Medical Commission.

The petitioners 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.

They requested the court to direct the government to exercise its executive power to declare that only students of the province be given admission to the local private medical and dental colleges on the basis of domicile and overall merit.

The petitioners 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.

They 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 Wasimuddin said though the provincial government had imposed 90 per cent domicile restrictions for students of this province, the medical colleges hadn’t been that restriction.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021

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