The Lahore High Court (LHC) order about MBBS/BDS admission in UHS 2021-2022 for Marks Improvers

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) order about MBBS/BDS admission in UHS 2021-2022 for Marks Improvers

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has directed the University of Health Sciences (UHS) to include improved marks in the applications of the students before preparation of the merit list for admissions to the MBBS/BDS session 2021-2022.

“The technicality introduced in the system is though a policy matter but it offends fundamental rights of 27 candidates under Article 37(c) read with Article 25 of the Constitution by creating a class within a class,” Justice Shahid Jamil Khan rules in his verdict while allowing petitions of the students.

Fatima Nadeem and other petitioners were aggrieved at declining or not entertaining their requests of including improved marks, obtained in the special examination while preparing final merit for admission to the MBBS/BDS session 2021-2022.

The petitioners contended that they filed their online applications on the basis of the original results of the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC). They said the online system was not allowing them for substitution of original marks with improved marks, the cutoff date for which is Feb 06.

The UHS counsel argued that under the admission policy, the applications for admissions were required to be filed online till November 22, 2021, however, those applicants who intended to improve their marks were asked to register their intention by selecting the category “delayed result candidates” in the system.

As many as 1,294 applicants selected this category, while submitting their applications online, who were allowed through the system to submit their improved marks till February 06. While 27 applicants (including the petitioners), failed to select the category of “delayed result candidates”, therefore, were denied submission of their improved numbers in the system in view of clause (vii), ibid, of the policy.

The petitioners’ counsel stated that the non-selection of the category was due to confusion created by a clarification letter issued by the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC). He said the petitioners had applied online before issuance of subsequent clarification by UHS and abstained to select the category of “delayed result candidates” in view of the letter by the PMC.

The counsel raised the question of discrimination and violation of fundamental rights under Article 25 read with Article 37(c) of the Constitution. He explained that all successful candidates in the HSSC examination 2021 had the right to appear in the special examination for improvement in their marks to compete in the merit for admission to the MBBS/BDS.

He said the result of all the candidates who appeared in the special examination was announced on the same date, therefore, they should be treated as one class to be considered for admission on the basis of improved marks. He pointed out that medical universities of other provinces did not impose any such condition and were allowing the students to submit their improved marks till the cutoff date.

The counsel for the UHS said the option to select a category was not availed by the petitioners, therefore, they faced estoppel by their own conduct.

However, Justice Khan, in his verdict, observes that it appears that the single bench was not assisted properly on the grounds of discrimination and confusion created by the letter by the PMC. He further observes that the respondents’ side has been unable to displace the factual position that the candidates selecting the category of “delayed result candidates” and the petitioners are one class, being similarly placed for the purpose of the Article 37(c) read with Article 25 of the Constitution.

Justice Khan explains that after the declaration of the original result for the HSSC and A-level examination for 2021, all the students had a right to attempt for improvement of the marks in respective special examinations. And the petitioners and other candidates appeared accordingly in the examinations and their results have been declared on the same dates, however, a class has been created within similarly placed persons, by introducing technical conditions in the computer system.

“This court is convinced that by rejecting the request for substitution of marks, respondents are ousting them (petitioners), for a technicality, from being considered on merit, which is a violation of the fundamental right under Article 25 read with Article 37(c) of the Constitution,” Justice Khan observes in the verdict.

Allowing the petitions, the judge orders that the vice-chancellor of the UHS is directed to ensure that improved marks of 27 applicants are included in their respective applications for admissions till Feb 6 and he considered the improved marks while preparing the merit list.

(Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2022)

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