HYDERABAD: A division bench of Sindh High Court, Hyderabad circuit, comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Omar Sial has issued notices to the federal health secretary, school education and literacy secretary Karachi, Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) registrar and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University (SMBBMU), Larkana, vice chancellor on a joint petition filed by nine students against alleged violation of PMC criteria for admission to medical colleges.

The Sindh deputy attorney general (DAG) and additional advocate (AAG) have also been put on notice.

The joint petition filed by the students, Zulfikar Ali and eight others, through Advocate Sajjad Ahmed Chandio submitted in court they had recently applied for admission to medical colleges and universities for undergraduate programme (MBBS). They passed the intermediate/FSC exams in the medical group and appeared in the tests (MDCAT-2021) conducted by the National Medical Authority of the PMC. They qualified for admission as per the MDCAT-2021 results announced online.

The petitioners said that through a public notice dated Jan 11, 2021, the PMC directed medical universities, colleges that at the time of calculating merit for admission, they must ensure that for the purposes of FSc or A-Level or any equivalent HSSC qualification results, only actual marks obtained in elective subjects must be counted and any grace marks added by any provincial authority to the overall marks must not be considered.

They said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sindh education department through notifications dated June 18, 2021 and July 14, 2021 issued instructions/policy relating to annual examinations-2021 of HSC (part-I & II) and in order to compensate candidates institutions were directed to add five per cent marks to the total obtained in elective subjects and three per cent additional marks based on performance.

They said that the annual examination-2021 for the matric and intermediate classes were held as per schedule of the Sindh education department and the results were announced. Marks certificates were issued and five per cent and three per cent grace marks were mentioned without bifurcating the original marks obtained by students. They said that education department had issued marks certificates without following the instructions/directions issued by the PMC and grace marks were added erroneously above the percentage mentioned in the notifications.

They said they had qualified the test in their second attempt and calculation of grace marks added/granted to students of intermediate (FSc/HSC-II) for merit of admissions would cause an irrevocable loss to them and they would face discrimination.

They said that due to serious apprehensions about calculating/considering grace marks for admission, the aggrieved students approached the PMC which, through a letter dated Dec 13, 2021, directed the SMBBMU VC not to consider grace marks at the time of merit calculation. They said the merit list for admissions to medical universities/colleges was likely to be published soon and due to the apparent negligence on the part of the marks sheet issuing authority, the grace marks were considered for merit calculation which was in sheer violation of merit, policy and instructions issued by the PMC.

They submitted in court that grave injustice was being done against the petitioners. They prayed the court to declare consideration of grace marks for merit in 2021-22 medical and dental college admissions illegal, unlawful and contrary to the PMC instructions. They prayed that the Sindh education department be restrained from adding grace marks in calculation of merits for 2021-22 admissions. They urged that the respondent education department be directed to strictly follow the instruction/directions issued by the PMC with regard to merit in MBBS admission.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2022

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