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Interim Stay-Order against PMDC’s Ad-hoc panel extended by SHC

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Karachi: The Sindh High Court has recently rejected the government’s request to cancel the interim stay-order against the operations of the ad-hoc PMDC managing committee, which was recently appointed to run the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council. A Federal Government Ordinance had formed this Ad-hoc committee, after de-notifying the previously “Elected” members of PMDC, on charges of irregularities and corruption.

According to recent media reports, the interim order came during a hearing on a petition filed by Dr Naveed Rashid Qureshi, against the promulgation of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (amendment) Ordinance 2014, that de-notified the existing council and the executive committee of the PMDC. The petitioner’s counsel, Anwar Mansoor Khan, said that the ordinance besides being illegal, the ordinance was also unfair and mala fide. He said it violated Article 154 of the constitution. Besides formulation, the council was also mandated to exercise supervision and control over related institutions.

According to the counsel, Article 154 of the constitution prescribes the functions of the Council of Common Interests (created in terms of Article 153 of the constitution) to include the formulation and regulation of policies in relation to the matter enumerated in Part II of the federal legislative lists.

He stated that a cursory glance at the at PMDC ordinance would clearly show that it was a regulatory authority, established by a federal law regulating the medical profession and the basic higher education in medicine and dentistry. Therefore, he said, in terms of Article 154 of the constitution, all matters pertaining to the PMDC fell clearly within the domain of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). However, the federal government without even giving any explanation or consulting either of the federating units, had bypassed the CCI and even the parliament had purportedly promulgated the impugned ordinance.

The counsel termed the ordinance a violation of the constitution, saying that it amounted to the usurpation of the rights and privileges of federating units and disenfranchised all members of the medical profession.

The additional attorney general opposed the interim stay order and prayed to the court to recall it. However, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Maqbool Baqar observed that; no comments had been filed on the instant petition and turned down the federal government’s request, extending the interim stay order till the next date of hearing on May 2. He also directed the respondents’ counsels to file their comments on the petition.

April 21, 2014

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