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November 15, 2019

Students with 60pc marks can apply for admissions to medical education institutions

Karachi

November 15, 2019

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ruled that intermediate students who have obtained a minimum of 60 per cent marks in their F.Sc. or equivalent examination are eligible to apply for admissions to medical universities and colleges in Sindh for the 2019-2020 session.

The ruling came on Thursday on petitions of Urooj Fatima and others who impugned the amendments made by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) in its 2018 MBBS and BDS admission, house job and internship regulations, under which the eligibility for admissions to medical and dental courses for a candidate who had passed the F.Sc (pre-medical) examination, was revised and enhanced from a minimum of 60 per cent marks in intermediate to 70 per cent marks.

The petitioners submitted that under the earlier regulations of the PMDC, which is not defunct after a presidential ordinance that created another body to regulate medical education, the eligibility for admissions to medical and dental courses for a candidate who had passed the F.Sc. (pre-medical) or equivalent examination was a minimum of 60 per cent marks.

They submitted that the admitting university was to compute a candidate’s aggregate marks by applying a weightage formula, under which 10 per cent weight was given to the marks of a candidate in matriculation or equivalent, 40 per cent weight to the marks in F.Sc. (pre-medical) or equivalent and 50 per cent weight to the marks obtained in the admission entry test. The petitioners informed the SHC that according to the original admission regulations, no standard pass percentage had been prescribed for the entry test and it appeared that it was left to the decision of the testing authority.

It was submitted that under the impugned amended regulation, the eligibility for admissions to medical and dental courses for a candidate who had passed the F.Sc (pre-medical) examination, was revised and enhanced from a minimum of 60% marks to 70% marks. The petitioners said that the weightage formula for aggregate marks was also revised to give 50 per cent weight each to the marks of a candidate in F.Sc (pre-medical) or equivalent, and the entry test.

Petitioners’ counsels Moin Azhar Siddiqui and Nadir Khan Burdi submitted that the amended admission regulations were not published in the official gazette as required according to the Section 20-A of the General Clauses Act, 1897, and therefore did not have the force of law, due to which the original admission regulations were still in place, under which the petitioners were eligible for admissions to the medical colleges and universities.

The counsels argued that the petitioners were entitled in the very least to apply for admissions, but the online portal at the website of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) where such an application can be sent does not accept the admission application if the candidate’s marks in the F.Sc examination are less than 70 per cent. They submitted that the amended admission regulations are invalid inasmuch as the section 42(2) of the PMDC Ordinance, 2019, under which the said amendments were made, did not empower the council to make regulations with regards to admissions.

LUMHS counsel Abdul Salam Memon submitted that the amended admission regulations were made in exercise of powers under the sub-section (2) of section 33 of the PMDC Ordinance, 1962, which did not require the prior approval of the federal government and therefore, the publication of the amended admission regulations in the official gazette was not mandatory. Deputy Attorney General Mohammad Nishat Warsi submitted that the amended admission regulations were valid and that the matter of admissions to medical and dental institutes was within the domain of the regulator.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui observed that during pendency of the petition, the PMDC had been repealed on October 20 and the Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance 2019 promulgated. The counsel of the case submitted that any change brought about by the said ordinance to the procedure of admissions to medical and dental institutes would only apply prospectively and the admission regulations had been saved under the section 50 of the PMC Ordinance, 2019. The counsel submitted that it is for this court to determine whether the original admission regulations hold the field or the amended admission regulations.

After hearing the arguments, the bench observed that presently original admission regulations held the field and that under the said regulations, the petitioners were eligible to apply for an admission to a medical university and college.

The SHC ordered that petitioners and other candidates in Sindh who have obtained a minimum of 60 per cent marks in their F.Sc. or equivalent examination are eligible to apply for admissions to medical universities and colleges in Sindh for the 2019-2020 session.

The bench directed the LUMHS to issue a public notice inviting admission applications from candidates within a specified time period and make all necessary arrangements as it deems fit and expedient for providing such candidates with an opportunity to submit an admission form to LUMHS at the earliest, be that online or manually. The high court also directed the Pakistan Medical Commission to facilitate the LUMHS in complying with its order.

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