Petition against MBBS Evening Shift Suspension Dismissed

LARKANA: May 31: A division bench of the Sindh High Court, Larkana circuit, dismissed a petition against suspension of MBBS evening programme, observing that the petitioners were at liberty to sue the former Vice Chancellor of the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Medical University (SMBBMU) and other officers concerned in accordance with law before a competent court having jurisdiction.
Petitioners, Murk Arora and others, had submitted in court that they and many other students were given admission in the MBBS evening programme launched at the Chandka Medical College in response to an advertisement published by the SMBBMU on May 27, 2013.
The bench, comprising Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto and Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, heard six identical petitions filed in 2013. It ordered that Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) to conduct a thorough probe and take action against the delinquent officials as per rules.

The further submitted that the classes commenced from July 16, 2013 but were suspended on July 25, 2013.

In the earlier proceedings of the case, the bench had heard the counsel for the petitioners and respondents, including the PMDC and SMBBMU, and reserved the judgement, which was pronounced on Thursday.

They prayed to court to declare the suspension of the evening programme illegal and direct the respondents to continue the course and if there was any impediment in restoring the evening programme, the petitioners be adjusted in the morning shift.

The bench observed that apparently the act of the then SMBBMU vice chancellor and other officers concerned fell within the term of ‘misfeasance’.

Former CMC principal Professor Dr Asadullah Mahar in his statement filed through his counsel, Habibullah H. Ghouri, submitted that he had no concern with the evening shift of the MBBS courses.

The health secretary submitted that the then SMBBMU vice chancellor had started the classes even after the PMDC expressed its reservations. The secretary said that ignoring the PMDC reservations, the university started the admission process for the MBBS evening courses.

PMDC counsel M. Sohail H. Rana and Riaz Ahmed Soomro, citing Section 11 of the PMDC Ordinance of 1962, submitted that there was no provision of evening classes and that the VC had violated the rules. Mr Rana argued that no evening classes of MBBS courses at any university were allowed in the country.

The counsel for the petitioners, Advocate Asif Abdul Razzak Soomro, submitted that his clients had obtained admission after fulfilling all requirements and even attended the classes but the Sindh government acting upon the plea of PMDC restrained them from attending the classes.

He argued that education was the fundamental right of the petitioners and stated that the students were unaware of the recognition of evening classes by the PMDC at the time the admission process was under way.

The PMDC counsel contended that the council had asked the VC not to launch the evening courses while students and their parents were also informed about it.

SMBBMU counsel Ghulam Ali A. Samtio argued that it was an individual act of the then VC, Dr Akbar Haidar Soomro, adding that the university’s governing body had no concern with the launch of the evening classes without approval.

The PMDC chairman in his statement filed on April, 8 2014 said there was no possibility of accommodating the petitioners in the morning courses at medical colleges in Sindh.

The order said the petitioners’ plea for admissions in morning classes would seriously affect the academic career of regular students and no college could exceed the seat allocations fixed by the PMDC.

“Their claim has no legal strength,” the order said, adding: “therefore, we are of the considered view that the petitions are devoid of merits, hence same are dismissed along with listed applications.”Published in Dawn, May 31th, 2014