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January 13, 2018

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SC dissolves PMDC, forms seven-member committee

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday dissolved the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and constituted an interim committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Shakirullah Jan. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while issuing a short order, remarked that the committee would run the affairs of the council until the new council was formulated. He remarked that the interim committee would continue its work, while the same set-up would conduct inspection of medical colleges after forming a separate committee.

Attorney General for Pakistan would also be a part of the set-up and form the structure of the PMDC. The chief justice maintained that he would personally monitor the entire process; however, the secretary would hold his position in the PMDC.

The medical colleges' representatives of the four provinces and Islamabad, including attorney general would be part of the committee, the court ruled. The Supreme Court had regretted that the government had failed to introduce a new law after the PMDC (Amendment) Ordinance 2015 lapsed in April of 2016 and the matter went to the high court.

The court was hearing the PMDC appeal against a Lahore High Court decision of December last year ordering the dissolution of the PMDC council. Sardar Latif Khosa, the council for Dr Asim, criticised the government for operating PMDC despite the expiry of the related ordinance.

Barrister Ali Zafar, counsel for Pakistan Association of Private Medical and Dental Institutions (PAMI), informed the bench that there were 164,000 doctors registered in the country, whereas 47,000 were specialists, however the country needed at least 500,000 doctors who could fulfill the country's needs.

Subsequently, while dismissing the council’s appeal, the CJ remarked that detailed judgment would be announced later with reasons. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on December 8, 2017, struck down composition of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and its 2016 regulations for admission to medical colleges.

A division bench headed by Justice Ayesha A Malik and Justice Jawad Hassan heard the appeals moved by students and private colleges challenging the formation of PMDC, its regulations and the Central Induction Policy 2016. The bench set aside sections 9 (c), 7, 8 and 11 of the impugned regulations, holding that PMDC was working under an amended ordinance of 2015 that had lapsed. As a result, the bench said, regulations made by the council also became ineffective.

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