Students challenge medical licence exam condition

Published June 16, 2021
Over a dozen MBBS/BDS qualified students have approached the Lahore High Court challenging the imposition of a condition of medical licencing examination with retrospective effect. — Wikimedia Commons/File
Over a dozen MBBS/BDS qualified students have approached the Lahore High Court challenging the imposition of a condition of medical licencing examination with retrospective effect. — Wikimedia Commons/File

LAHORE: Over a dozen MBBS/BDS qualified students have approached the Lahore High Court challenging the imposition of a condition of medical licencing examination with retrospective effect.

Sufyan Akhtar and 20 other students filed a joint petition through Advocate Awais Khalid pleading that no condition of National Licencing Examination (NLE) existed at the time of their admissions to the respective programmes.

The counsel contended that the petitioners after completion of their respective professional examinations (MBBS/BDS) were required to undergo mandatory house job/internship for the grant of full registration.

He said the petitioners passed their professional examinations and were entitled to full registration/licence in terms of admission regulation of 2018.

However, the counsel submitted that the petitioners had been asked to pass the NLE under section 20 of Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020 to obtain full licence.

He argued that the retrospective application of the NLE was unlawful as petitioners were registered with the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council, now defunct, and there was no such condition in the whole course period of MBBS/BDS.

“It is a settled principle of law that strong presumption of prospective application attached to legislation exist which can only be displaced if text expressly intends to apply retrospectively or if necessary implication is clearly spelt out from words of the statute,” argued Advocate Khalid.

He pointed out that the petitioners were supposed to be awarded degrees in 2020 but due to Covid-19 scenario examinations were delayed and now the petitioners passed the required examination to be medical practitioners. He said the sudden imposition of the NLE by retrospective implication was unlawful.

Issuing notices to the federal government, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi observed that the contentions made by the petitioners needed consideration. The government, University of Health Sciences, PMC and others have been asked to file their para wise comments by July 1.

Published in Dawn, EOS, June 16th, 2021

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