LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has dismissed a set of petitions challenging the procedure adopted by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) to conduct the National Medical & Dental Colleges Admission Test (MDCAT) for 2021.
The PMC conducted the MDCAT from Aug 30 (2021) to Sept 30 on a daily basis. The petitioners/students applied for the test and had been allotted roll numbers by the PMC but despite exceptional and outstanding careers, they faced several complications, hurdles and illegalities during the test and as a result could not pass the same.
Through the petitions, the students assailed the procedure for the test being contrary to section 18 (1) of the Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020 and Pakistan Medical Commission Conduct of Examinations Regulations, 2021.
Petitioners may file review with PMC
The lawyers of the petitioners argued that in section 18(1) the word “a date” and “single admission test” was written and in singular form not in plural i.e. “dates” or “tests”. They said the PMC was bound to hold a single test on one selected date.
They asked the court to decide whether the mandatory requirement to hold a single test as provided under the law can be allowed to be violated.
The PMC through its counsel questioned the maintainability of the petitions and said the petitioners had the right to file review before the commission. He further argued that bare perusal of the Act made it clear that the expression “single admission test” in section 18 referred to the fact that every student would only be allowed to appear in and sit for one MDCAT in a year.
He pointed out that section 20 of the Act clearly stated that the examination shall be held at least twice a year. He said the entire argument of the petitioners regarding construction and interpretation of Section 18 was flawed.
In his written verdict, Justice Jawad Hassan observes that the petitioners have failed to make out a case for interference by this court within the parlance of Article 199 of the Constitution.
He notes that the entire process has been published in newspapers and the website of the PMC whereupon the applicants/students from all over the country applied for MDCAT by taking all those steps.
He holds that no illegality has been found in applying the rules, regulations and the Act during the entire process of the MDCAT 2021- 22.
However, the judge, keeping in view the future of the students, observes that the petitioners may file their review(s) before the PMC for redressal of their grievance till Oct 29. The judge also directed the PMC to decide the reviews, if filed, strictly in accordance with law within a period of one week from its filing.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021