ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday asked Registrar Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Brig (retired) Hafizuddin Siddiqui not to enter the PMDC office at all as the PMC law had been declared ‘ultra vires’ by the court previously.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed said this while hearing the Secretary Ministry of Health’s appeal against the Islamabad High Court order in contempt petition to open the PMDC building for the registrar and employees.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice said, “You [registrar] will not enter into the office of PMDC.” Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned that when the IHC had itself declared the PMC law ultra vires, then how can the registrar, appointed under that law, continue to work.

Hafiz Arfat Ahmed Chaudhry representing the PMDC Registrar Brigadier (retd) Hafizuddin contended that the Secretary Health has no power to question who should be the Registrar of the PMDC. The counsel added that it is the Council’s and not the Secretary Health’s decision. He asked the court to let the ad hoc council decide the matter.

On January 12, 2018 former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar dissolved the 35-member PMDC and substituted it with a nine-member ad-hoc council headed by former judge of Supreme Court Shakirullah Jan.

Later, President Dr Arif Alvi on October 9, 2019 promulgated Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance 2019, through which the PMDC Ordinance 1962 was repealed and council established thereunder was dissolved, and a new commission namely the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) was established.

However, the Islamabad High Court declared Presidential Ordinance on dissolution of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) illegal on February 12, 2020 and issued directives to reinstate as many as 220 employees of the Council.

Health Ministry did not implement the order and again sealed the PMDC building and stopped council employees from entering into it. The registrar and employees filed contempt petition against the Secretary Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and others and demanded the immediate open PMDC building.

The federation challenged the single bench verdict and filed an Intra Court Appeal (ICA) in the IHC. The ICA stated that the impugned judgment dated 11-02-2020 passed by the single judge in chamber exercising powers under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan is without jurisdiction, excess of jurisdiction and hence calls for interference.

It adopted that the impugned judgment suffers from inherent jurisdictional defects and is against the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers. “The learned Judge in Chamber while attributing mala fide to the President in exercise of his legislative power under the constitution has travelled beyond the jurisdiction vested in the Court, hence the impugned judgment illegal and unlawful,” said the ICA.

It added that the impugned judgment is violative to the constitutional norms and fundamental principles of constitutional jurisdiction, in defiance to the well settled principles, and tantamount to judicial legislation instead of interpretation and construction of constitution.

“Without prejudice, the impugned judgment by declaring the PMC Ordinance ultra vires on the basis of factual findings and procedural impropriety has struck down a legislative enactment which is beyond the jurisdictional power under Article 199 of the constitution,” said the ICA. In the meantime, the PMDC registrar and employees filed the contempt petition against the Secretary Health and others.

Then the federation has challenged the IHC order in the apex court. After hearing the arguments of the registrar PMDC counsel and Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan, the bench of the top court reserved the judgment in this matter.