Landmark Judgement: PoK MBBS student allowed to practice in J&K

SRINAGAR: Hopes have rekindled for hundreds of students, who pursued their education in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to consider the case of an MBBS student, who completed her education from Benazir Bhutto Medical College in Mirpur, for registration as Medical Practitioner.

Hadiya Chisti of Srinagar had knocked on the doors of HC seeking directions for registering as Medical Practitioner in Jammu and Kashmir. It followed the decision by National Board of Examination to disallow Chisti to write Foreign Medical Graduate Examination Screening Test.

However, on the interim orders of the Court, she was provisionally allowed to write exams in which she secured 156 marks out of 300 and thus became eligible for registration.

After hearing arguments, Justice Sanjeev Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed MEA to consider Chisti’s case for registration. “I deem it appropriate to call upon the respondent number one (MEA) to consider the case of the petitioner for recognition of her MBBS qualification. And for registering her as a medical practitioner purely on equitable considerations,” he said in his order.

Skshukla Justice Sanjeev Kumar

Justice Kumar noted that the petitioner is a citizen of India and she has obtained MBBS from a medical college, which is within the territory of India. “There could be no dispute that the area known as PoK is an integral part of India, though it is under the occupational and administrative control of Pakistan,” he said.

If that were the admitted position, Justice Kumar said, a medical institution operating in the area (PoK) couldn’t be expected to seek any recognition from Medical Council of India (MCI). “MCI does not exercise de facto control and powers over the territory known as PoK though it may claim to have territorial jurisdiction extended to that area de jure (by right),” he said.

The Court said PoK, where Medical College in question is situated, couldn’t be regarded as a foreign country. Therefore, the applicability of subsection 4A and 4B of Section 13 of the India Medical Council Act 1956 is completely ruled out, he said.

“If that be the position, then, the petitioner was not obliged to obtain an eligibility certificate in terms of subsection 4B. Neither was she required to qualify the screening test conducted by MCI in terms of subsection 4A. The petitioner has suffered and is suffering because the institution, which though in India, is under the effective administrative control of Pakistan,” Justice Kumar said.

He noted that in the absence of MEA or some other competent authority issuing a specific advisory, Indian citizens, more particularly those residing in Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, are most likely to become prey to such conundrum created by peculiar fact situation.

Ishfaq Ul Hassan

An accredited journalist with 22 years of professional experience, Ishfaq-Ul-Hassan has worked as a reporter based in Kashmir for two decades. He has covered various beats including militancy, politics, defence, minorities, social issues, religious groups and women issues in Kashmir. He had previously worked as Special Correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir for DNA (Daily News and Analysis) Newspaper for 13 years. Ishfaq is also associated with the New Delhi- based television company `Asia Pacific Communication Associates’ which produced the famous series “Subah-Bakhar-Kashmir” for satellite Kashmir channel of Doordarshan. In 2004, he was awarded the Charkha-Sanjoy Ghosh Fellowship for Peace and Development for his research on families divided across the LOC in Kashmir.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *