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Karachi

December 6, 2017

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SHC upholds NTS test results, rejects govt’s notification

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday set aside the provincial government’s November 11 notification cancelling the test results for admissions in public medical colleges and universities as well as the health department’s enquiry into the alleged paper leak.


The SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar directed the health department, the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council and all medical institutions to continue and swiftly complete admissions in MBBS and BDS programmes on the basis of the test conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS) on October 22.


On the basis of the findings of the health department’s enquiry committee, the chief minister had ordered cancelling the entry test’s results and announced that the students would have to retake the test.


The petitioners, who are medical students, had earlier told the court that after the test results were announced, rumours were spread on social media that the question paper was leaked a day before the test.


They said the health department, without any lawful authority or justification, gave benefit to the failed students and constituted a committee to investigate the alleged leak, an action that was beyond its scope and jurisdiction.


The petitioners’ counsel, Anwar Mansoor Khan, informed the court that the provincial government had no authority to cancel the results of the test conducted by the NTS. The additional advocate general told the court that the provincial government had cancelled the test results after the health department’s enquiry report showed that the entry test was mishandled by the NTS and it failed to secure its printing press along with trained staff.


On Tuesday the bench observed in its judgment that the evidence was not enough to warrant cancelling the admission test, saying that the Sindh government’s notification was without jurisdiction and could not stand.


The bench also observed that none of the complainants who appeared before the enquiry committee could prove that the paper was leaked, saying that the body’s findings had said the allegation could only be proved by a premier investigation agency.


On the subject of the government’s power to cancel the test results, the court said that even though the health secretary chaired the enquiry committee, it did not mean that the government as a whole, or even the health department, was empowered to decide such matters.


The court also said that disputed questions considered out of syllabus could not be decided in such proceedings, and ordered completing the admission process swiftly on the basis of the results of the October 22 entry test.


The bench said that all deadlines and time frames under the regulations should be extended suitably, if necessary, from time to time, by the provincial committee constituted under the regulations.


The bench also suspended the operation of judgment for 10 days to enable any aggrieved person or party to avail the remedy of appeal, but during this period the government’s November 11 notification would stand suspended.

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