LAHORE - Private medical colleges would not be allowed to fleece students in the name of education fee, Supreme Court Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed.

He was hearing a suo motu case of high fee of the private medical colleges at the SC Lahore Registry Friday. The bench ordered audit of all medical colleges by independent chartered firm in a bid to acquire their fee structure and expenditure, observing that the private medical colleges would pay to accountant firms.

The chief Justice remarked that the medical education had unfortunately become a business rather than being a life-saving profession.

“Some doctors even don’t even know the basic things like checking a patient’s blood pressure,” the CJP remarked while pointing out deteriorating condition of medical profession.

The CJP, however, observed that sanctioned private medical colleges would not be shut down but they have to fulfill all the legal requirements. He further said that the admission already made by the private medical colleges would not be set aside; however, the extra fee taken from the students would be adjusted/returned accordingly.

Later, the CJP paid surprise visits to Lahore’s government hospitals while LHC Chief Justice Yawar Ali accompanied him during the visit.

Both senior judges visited Services Hospital and inspected various wards, including the emergency department.

He also inquired after the patients. During his visit, a woman approached the chief justice asking for monetary assistance for medical treatment. Chief Justice Nisar assured the woman of help, with directives to the relevant authorities to provide her services free-of-charge.

The Chief Justice also visited Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) and expressed displeasure over absence of wheelchairs at the institute's entrance. The patients complained to the CJP about the problems faced by them after which he directed the hospital administration to resolve the patients’ problems.  Later, he also visited the Red Crescent Medical College in Phoolnagar, between Lahore and Pattoki. 

 The students held protest against the university administration during his visit to Phoolnagar. The chief justice learned from the students that they have been charged two to three million rupees as fees. At this, the CJP ordered the varsity administration to return the fees exceeding Rs850,000 and barred it from taking disciplinary action against students without taking the Supreme Court on board.

The CJP directed the Federal Investigation Agency and Kasur district police officer to probe the issue of exorbitant fees after which one university official was detained. He also expressed displeasure at the inadequate facilities present inside the medical college's operation theatre.

In December last year, the CJP paid a similar visit to Lahore's Mayo Hospital to inspect facilities there. The move had drawn criticism from various quarters, including former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz.