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Monday July 22, 2024

SC dismisses plea against rise in medical colleges’ fees

Three-member bench of apex court, headed by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard petition of Advocate Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta

By Our Correspondent
July 11, 2024
Police officers walk past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 6, 2022. — Reuters
Police officers walk past the Supreme Court of Pakistan building, in Islamabad, Pakistan April 6, 2022. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a constitutional petition filed regarding an “alarming increase” in the fees of private medical colleges, after declaring it non-maintainable.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, heard the petition of Advocate Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta.

Bhutta had filed the petition in the apex court, seeking its direction to the federal government for constituting a commission under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017 to probe the illegal rise in private medical colleges’ fees from Rs5 to Rs6 lakhs and Rs22 lakhs to 50 lakhs.

During the course of hearing, Justice Shah remarked that the Supreme Court was not required to review the fees of medical colleges. “Can the court constitute a commission for this purpose?” he asked and advised the petitioner to approach the regulatory authority concerned. The court asked the petitioner which law applied to the fees of medical colleges and said it could not hear such cases.

Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar asked the petitioner whether he had contacted the Pakistan Medical Association in this regard. Bhutta replied he had written a letter to the prime minister and the president and told them that private medical colleges misused the decision of the Supreme Court in suo motu case No R1/2010 within a few years, so the government should form an inquiry commission and investigate the matter. He submitted the government did not respond to his letter that forced him to file the petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Justice Shah asked the petitioner who regulated the fees. He replied that after the decision of the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Medical Dental Act was made. The learned judge asked the petitioner that he should have gone to the same regulatory body instead of approaching the apex court. “When the regulatory body is available, approach it,” Justice Shah said and dismissed the petition for not being maintainable.