PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday stopped the Pakistan Medical Commission from cancelling the recent admissions to five private medical colleges in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and sought admission records.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Lal Jan Khattak also expressed displeasure with the long delay in the formulation of rules for the medical tribunal set up under the Medical Tribunal Act, 2020, and directed the law division to notify the same before May 27.
It was hearing five petitions filed by the privately-owned Jinnah Medical College and several students, including Zarghuna Niaz, Amina Bibi, Wajihur Rehman and others, against the regulator for medical and dental education over the decision of cancelling their admissions over the alleged irregularities.
The petitioners requested the court to declare the PMC’s admission cancellation decision illegal saying they’ve been attending classes for around three months.
Haziq Ali Shah, Salman Fayyaz Mir, Rohan Nafees Shafi, Junaid Zaman and other lawyers appeared for the petitioners and said the interviews for admission were conducted under the law and process devised for it.
Asks law division to notify rules for medical tribunal
They said 20 per cent interview marks were fixed for admission to private medical colleges under the Admissions Regulations (Amended), 2020-21, and their clients had no fault about that.
The counsel argued that the students were give admission on merit and it was not correct to claim that they were awarded high marks in interviews as some of them received 10 and 12 marks only.
They contended that it was a dispute between the PMC and private colleges, so the admissions of students shouldn’t be cancelled for it.
PMC vice-president Ali Raza appeared before the bench and said the regulator for medical education had suspended admissions in five private medical colleges and hadn’t cancelled them.
He said under the law, medical colleges were permitted to include 20 per cent interview marks in the admission process but they’re not given a freehand for the purpose and instead, they’re told to maintain transparency.
The PMC VP said in March, the commission had sought records from all colleges, including merit lists and interview details, while from Apr 5 to 9, they were provided with an opportunity of hearing.
He said admissions to those colleges were suspended for not sharing records with the commission.
The chief justice ordered the production of all records of admissions, interviews and merit lists.
Deputy attorney general Amir Javed told the court that the issue fell in the jurisdiction of the Medical Tribunal formed under the Act, so it should be decided by the tribunal.
The bench was informed that the tribunal had heard the issue for two days but as the relevant rules had not been notified, it returned the cases.
The bench expressed displeasure with the non-formulation of the tribunal rules and observed that the Medical Tribunal Act was enforced in Sept last year but the rules had so far not been notified.
It directed the law division to notify the rules before May 27 and adjourned the hearing into the petitions until then.
NAB STOPPED: The bench stopped the National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, from taking any action against the PMC and medical colleges until further order.
It observed that it only asked the NAB to conduct an inquiry into admissions by private medical colleges and didn’t order a complete investigation and arrests on the issue.
The bench issued the order while hearing a petition challenging clause 18 of the Admissions Regulations (Amended) 2020-21 and requesting the court to declare as unconstitutional the fixation of 20 percent interview marks for admissions to private medical colleges.
In that case the court had earlier asked the NAB KP and FIA to conduct separate inquiries into admission to private medical colleges.
During the hearing on Apr 27, the NAB and FIA had produced their respective inquiry reports declaring that five private medical colleges in the province had committed irregularities in admissions by manipulating the 20 per cent interview marks.
When the bench began hearing, the counsel for private colleges said the NAB officials had been coercing the college’s staff members.
Senior prosecutor of the NAB Azeem Dad said the bureau had conducted an inquiry into the medical colleges’ admissions on the court’s orders.
He said it was the bureau’s domain to conduct investigation if there was any irregularity and that it could also file a reference in that regard.
PMC vice-president Ali Raza said private medical colleges were in the domain of the commission.
Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2021