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Test Tube Apprentice: Students Challenge Medical License Exam Condition

To obtain full Medical license NLE needs to be passed under section 20 of Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020.

Over a dozen MBBS/BDS qualified students have approached the Lahore High Court challenging the imposition of a condition of medical licensing examination with retrospective effect.

Sufyan Akhtar and 20 other students filed a joint petition through Advocate Awais Khalid pleading that no condition of National Licensing Examination (NLE) existed at the time of their admissions to the respective programs.

The counsel contended that the petitioners after completion of their respective professional examinations (MBBS/BDS) were required to undergo mandatory house job/internship for the grant of full registration.

He said the petitioners passed their professional examinations and were entitled to full registration/licence in terms of admission regulation of 2018.

However, the counsel submitted that the petitioners had been asked to pass the NLE under section 20 of Pakistan Medical Commission Act, 2020 to obtain full licence.

He argued that the retrospective application of the NLE was unlawful as petitioners were registered with the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council, now defunct, and there was no such condition in the whole course period of MBBS/BDS.

“It is a settled principle of law that strong presumption of the prospective application attached to legislation exists which can only be displaced if text expressly intends to apply retrospectively or if the necessary implication is clearly spelled out from words of the statute,” argued Advocate Khalid.

He pointed out that the petitioners were supposed to be awarded degrees in 2020 but due to Covid-19 scenario examinations were delayed and now the petitioners passed the required examination to be medical practitioners. He said the sudden imposition of the NLE by retrospective implication was unlawful.

Issuing notices to the federal government, Justice Sajid Mahmood Sethi observed that the contentions made by the petitioners needed consideration. The government, University of Health Sciences, PMC, and others have been asked to file their para wise comments by July 1.

Gohar Imdad
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