Stay within your limits: Court restrains NAB from investigating medical colleges

Petitioner claims the bureau lacks the authority to determine whether institutes meet college requirements.

Our Correspondent July 23, 2014


The Peshawar High Court has restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from further proceeding with an inquiry against two medical institutes, which have supposedly failed to meet standards for colleges.

Advocate Abdul Rauf Rohaila, the counsel for Al Razi Medical College and Jinnah Medical College, told the two-member bench of Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali that only the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council had the authority to determine whether such institutes had the staff, building and laboratory equipment to meet the standards of a college. He argued NAB did not have the authority to conduct such an inquiry.

Deputy Prosecutor General Azimdad told the bench that inquiries had been initiated against a number of institutes that were suspected of lacking the equipment and infrastructure needed for the college level. However, Justice Qaiser Rashid remarked they feared that NAB was crossing certain limits and he questioned under which law such an inquiry was initiated.

The court, after hearing arguments from both sides, issued notices to the federal government and Pakistan Medical and Dental Council to submit their reports.

Outside the courtroom, Rohaila told reporters that the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999 allowed the authority to gather information, but not carry out inspections.

Al Razi Medical College has been in the news since last year. In November 2013, parents of its MBBS students asked the Supreme Court and Pakistan Medical and Dental Association to take notice of the poor condition of the college.

Students later learnt that Al Razi was not registered or affiliated with any medical university. They then went to court. Their lawyer had told a court that the college had claimed in its prospectus that it was affiliated with a medical university. But then the students found out that neither was the college recognized nor affiliated with any university.

In July this year, its students had to go to court to get permission to sit their Part-I exams which were jeopardized because of a lack of affiliation. In a subsequent legal battle, the court then ordered Khyber Medical University to adjust 100 of Al Razi’s students in colleges across the province.

A court had already ordered the government to adjust Al Razi’s Part-II students in other colleges of the province. They did not want to study at Al Razi any more.

Notification suspended

The same bench suspended a notification of the provincial government which transferred an officer serving in grade 18 at the information directorate to a grade 17 post in the directorate of transport.

Raja Muhammad Ijaz Khattak, the counsel for petitioner Syed Amir Hussain, told the court that after the directorate of information was suspended, his client was transferred to the directorate of transport at a lower basic pay scale. He contended that posting an officer to a lower grade is against the law and asked the court to declare the transfer illegal.

The court suspended the government’s order and sought reports from the culture secretary and establishment secretary at the next hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.


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