PESHAWAR: Dismissing all constitutional petitions challenging Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Medical and Teaching Institutions (MTI) Reforms Act 2015, a larger bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) declared that the act was legislated in accordance with the Constitution.
The judgment was announced by PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel on Wednesday. He said that suitable amendments should be drafted in light of observations made in the judgment and correspondence rules should be devised to maintain strict discipline in the institutions. These rules should mainly focus on the provision of timely and effective services to the public.
As per the judgment, amendment should be made for creating a position of director of paramedical staff in the legislation. “The law should suitably be amended to break the cartel of doctors and pharmaceutical companies,” stated the judgment.
It added a detailed explanation would be revealed in the complete judgment that will be issued later.
The bench directed the government to appoint Dr Iftikhar, a petitioner who was medical superintendent of Ayub Medical and Teaching Hospital, in the same facility in accordance to his grade. He was removed from his post after the act was passed and a retired major was appointed on his place. The petitions were filed by Pakistan Medical Association president Dr Hussain Ahmad Haroon and paramedics association.
A larger bench on December 7 had reserved judgment after petitioners and respondents’ lawyers completed their arguments.
The petitioners’ lawyers Mian Mohibullah Kakakhel and Mushtaq Tahirkheli and others argued similar laws were legislated in 1999 and 2002 to gain control of the autonomous health bodies ¬– medical and teaching institutions in K-P.
They argued that the act was passed to pursue vested interests and was implemented in Ayub Medical and Teaching Institute, Hayatabad Medical Complex, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital.
The lawyers said MTI act was not implemented in remaining six institutions in K-P. They added the aim of this legislation was to tighten bureaucrats’ grip over these autonomous institutions that would destroy them.
The lawyers also questioned legality of the board of governors formed for these hospitals under the act and argued that its members were appointed on political grounds, and are either are relatives of politicians or have connection with them.
Besides, it would comprise 10 private members who have no experience in medical field.
They said the act did not provide any protection to the people affiliated to the profession as compared to civil services law. They informed the bench that MTI act asked doctors to continue their private practices inside the hospital while such practices failed in the past.
The lawyers argued that the act provided two options either to merge with MTI or remain as civil servants on payroll of health department.
The bench was informed that Rs3.80 billion were approved only for doctors, who were fewer in number than 18,000 paramedics who were ignored.
Advocate General Abdul Latif Yousafzai insisted all legal requirements were fulfilled before passing the law and it was provincial government’s manifesto to provide better health care facilities to the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2015.