ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday reserved verdict in a petition challenging dissolution of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).
The verdict was reserved after the completion of the arguments from both parties. Additional Attorney General Tariq Khokhar concluded arguments while representing the federal government.
AAG Khokhar pleaded the court to thoroughly observe the case details while giving judgment as the matter is currently under discussion in the Parliament. To which, Barrister Zafarullah objected and said that the courts should give a verdict instead of delaying the matter if the case is related to the fundamental rights.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani wondered: “Can a court issue an order to the parliament?”
The counsel replied that the court could not issue directives to the parliament, however, the ordinance can be challenged. The judge remarked that the bill is in Parliament and it is not an emergency matter but for the general situation.
Zafarullah said the ordinance is on-field which seized the fundamental rights. Babar Sattar apprised the court that they came to defend the rights of the employees and the case is not filed to challenge the policy of the ordinance. He sought IHC for taking the decision in view of the fundamental rights. The lawyer added the verdict will also guide the parliament.
Later, the high court reserved a verdict in the case.
The medical regulatory body was dissolved through a presidential decree in October last year, paving the way for the establishment of a new organisation namely the Pakistan Medial Commission (PMC).
The same day when PMDC was dissolved, President Alvi had also signed a new ordinance titled ‘Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019’ which noted that the “implementation of the new ordinance requires dissolution of current PMDC”.
However, the decision to dissolve PMDC was challenged in the IHC by the registrar of erstwhile PMDC, Brig (retd) Dr Hafizud Din and 31 employees, who maintained that an act of parliament gave powers to the government to dissolve the PMDC, but its president, vice president and the executive committee would stay intact till the appointment of newcomers after the elections which were to be held within one year.
The petition also said that the services of the PMDC employees were terminated without giving them a proper opportunity of hearing. It expressed apprehensions that the newly formed PMC may hire the services of new employees against the sanctioned and contractual positions through other modes after issuance of advertisement which would jeopardise the vested rights to serve the council’s previous employees.
It requested the court to declare the ordinance for the establishment of the PMC as unconstitutional and in the meanwhile allow the erstwhile PMDC employees to continue work in the newly formed commission.
IHC constituted a single-member bench featuring Justice Kayani to take up the petition. As the bench approved the petition for regular hearing, it issued notices to the secretaries to the president, cabinet division and law and health ministries, chief commissioner, attorney general and the president of the newly established Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) and adjourned the hearing till Nov 8.