LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday sought replies from Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), federal and Punjab governments on a writ petition challenging an excessive fee structure of private medical colleges in the provinces.

The court issued this order on a petition moved by Judicial Activism Panel Chairman Azhar Siddique filed this petition and contended that the private medical colleges had been receiving Rs600,000 from a student per year.

He said a poor student could not even dream of studying at a private college through he/she had the constitutional right to get education.

The lawyer submitted that the PMDC should be asked that under what law it allowed the private medical colleges to fix such exorbitant fee structure.

He pointed out that a division bench of the LHC had directed the PMDC to introduce a fee structure in the private colleges so that students having less money but ability could study at the private colleges.

He said the PMDC miserably failed to ensure affordable quality education in the medical colleges. The petitioner said the private institutions had been increasing their fees but their quality of the education had been declining day by day.

Advocate Siddique prayed to the court that the PMDC should be asked whether it took any action against the private medical institutions for rendering expensive and substandard education.

The lawyer submitted that to get education was a fundamental right of every citizen but these medical colleges had usurped this right in violation of Article 25-A of the Constitution.

Earlier, the University of Health Sciences (UHS) submitted its reply and stated that the fee structure of private medical colleges in country was regulated by the PMDC. However, it pointed out that according to the Council’s rules no medical or dental institution training for MBBS/BDS in private sector could charge tuition fee more than Rs600,000 per annum per student.

This fee shall exclude university fees, taxes, hostel fee, transport fee and the one time admission fee which shall not be more than Rs50,000 only, the reply added.

Counsel of the UHS argued that the questions raised in the instant petition were not related to the university, therefore, the petition should be dismissed.

The petitioner prayed to the court to take action the exorbitant fee structure of the private colleges and the failure of the PMDC in ensuring affordable education of medical field.

A division bench headed by Justice Nasir Saeed Sheikh recorded arguments and directed respondents to submit replies till fourth week of January.

LHC MOVED AGAINST FAROOQI: A writ petition has been filed in the LHC challenging the appointment of Salman Farooqi as Federal Ombudsman.

The petition has been moved by Peer Ali Imran, a local resident. He said in the petition that Salman Farooqi had been appointed on political basis and his appointment was also violation of merit.

The petitioner said a total of 75,000 applications and cases against the federal government were pending before the federal ombudsman. The federal government wanted more delay in the pending applications and cases; therefore, Salman Farooqi had been given charge of the federal ombudsman.