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March 14, 2018

PHC orders free medical treatment of practicing lawyers having NTN


March 14, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to provide free medical treatment to the province practicing lawyers having National Tax Number (NTN).

A two-member bench comprising Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Musarrat Hilali allowed two writ petitions. These were filed by the Peshawar Bar Association through Zahidullah Zahid and Abdullah Qazi and two other lawyers Shabir Hussain Gigyani and Farmanullah Sailab.

During arguments, Shabir Hussain Gigyani, Zahidullah Zahid and Farmanullah Sailab submitted before the bench that at present both the Punjab and Sindh governments and federal government provided free medical treatment to practicing lawyers equal to the one enjoyed by BPS-17 and 18 officers, but such facility was not provided to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lawyers by the provincial government.

They argued that being part of the same lawyer community, the KP lawyers also deserved to be treated on a par with the lawyers of the Punjab, Sindh and Islamabad. They submitted that the non-availability of free medical facility to the lawyers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa amounted to discrimination and a sheer violation of Articles 25 and 4 of the Constitution. The lawyers prayed to the bench to pass order to the provincial government to sanction free medical facility to the lawyers.

During hearing, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth observed that the government officers were taxpayers and had NTN certificates. He remarked the court was going to allow free medical facility equal to BPS-17 and 18 government officers to the lawyers who were taxpayers.

On the other hand, additional advocate general, representing the provincial government, opposed the sanction of the free medical facility and said that it would be a huge burden on the exchequer. To this, Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth said if the other provinces had taken this burden then why not the KP government.

The law officer also pointed out that to issue such orders would be against the Supreme Court order and interference in the provincial financial matters. However, the court said that the Supreme Court judgment did not apply to this case.

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