J&K High Court has directed External Affairs Ministry, Government of India, to consider the case of a candidate who has pursued MBBS from Pakistan administered Kashmir for her registration as Medical Practitioner.
"I deem itappropriate to call upon respondent No.1(Ministry of External Affairs GoI ) to consider the caseof the petitioner for recognition of her MBBS qualification and also forregistering her as a Medical Practitioner purely on equitable considerations,"reads a judgment by Justice Sanjeev Kumar. The court asked the government totake decision in this regard within four weeks.
Hadiya Chisti fromSrinagar has approached the court seeking directions for registering her as aMedical Practitioner. She has done her MBBS from Benazir Bhutto MedicalCollege, Mirpur in PaK.
National Board ofExamination had refused to permit Chisti in the Foreign Medical GraduateExamination/Screening Test. However, on the interim directions of court, shewas provisionally allowed to sit in the Screening Test. She obtained 156 marksout of 300 and qualified the test.
"Petitioner is acitizen of India and has obtained MBBS degree from a Medical College which issituated within the territory of India. There could be no dispute that the areaknown as 'PoK' is an integral part of India, though the same is under theoccupation and administrative control of Pakistan," the court said in thejudgement.
"If that be theadmitted position, a medical institution operating in the area (PaK) cannot beexpected to seek any recognition from MCI. The MCI does not exercise de-factocontrol and powers over the territory known as PoK, though it may claim to haveterritorial jurisdiction extending to that area de-jure," court said.
The court observedthere was no mechanism in place and in the given circumstances there could notbe such mechanism which would provide for recognition of the medicalinstitutions located in PaK by MCI. The India Medical Council Act 1956 and therules and regulations framed there under, the court said, do not lay down anyspecific provision to deal with such a peculiar situation.
"Admittedly, MedicalCollege in Mirpur cannot be said to be a Medical Institution outside India northe same is included in the Second Schedule. That being the position, Section12 of the Act of 1956 would have no applicability," court said.
PaK, where theMedical College in question is situated, the court said, cannot be regarded asa foreign country, therefore applicability of sub-section (4A) and (4B) ofSection 13 of the Act is completely ruled out.
"If that be theposition as it is, the petitioner was not obliged to obtain an eligibilitycertificate in terms of sub-section (4B) nor was she required to qualify thescreening test conducted by MCI in terms of sub-section (4A)," court said.
"The petitioner hassuffered and is suffering because of the fact that she has obtained MBBS degreefrom a medical institution which though is in India but is under the effectiveadministrative control of Pakistan."
"In absence ofspecific advisory having been issued by the Ministry of External Affairs orsome other competent authority, the citizens of India, more particularly thoseresiding in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, are mostlikely to fall prey to such conundrum created by peculiar fact situation."
The court said itwas of view that the case of the petitioner deserved to be considered by theUnion External Affairs Ministry as a special case. "More so when she hasqualified Foreign Medical Graduate Examination/Screening Test conducted by theNational Board of Examinations."
The court has madeclear that the case of the petitioner has been decided in view of its peculiarfacts and circumstances saying the same shall not be treated as a precedent tobe followed in future. "But for the permission granted by respondent No.1(External Affairs Ministry) and the Visa by Pakistan, the petitioner would nothave pursued the course of MBBS."
The court directedthe respondents to issue requisite advisory in the matter "informing thecitizens of India about the status of educational institutions includingmedical institutions operating in the territories of India under the occupationand administrative control of Pakistan so that the citizens, particularly thestudents, are properly informed of the consequences of obtaining qualificationsfrom such institutions."
The petitioner wasrepresented by senior advocate Jahangir Iqbal Ganai while the External AffairsMinistry was represented by Tahir Shamsi.