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Regarding available facilities in govt. medical faculties:SLMC had maintained a double standard policy: President's Counsel

President's Counsel Romesh de Silva yesterday, informed the Supreme Court that the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) had maintained a double standard policy regarding the facilities available in the Government medical faculties.

Romesh de Silva PC appearing on behalf of the original petitioner, a MBBS graduate of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM), told the Supreme Court that Medical Faculty of Rajarata University is facing a lack of facilities including human and physical resources. He further said that neither the SLMC nor the GMOA raised this issue. He reiterated that the SAITM consisted of minimum resources required for a degree awarding institution.

"The SAITM is a degree awarding institution in terms of the University Act. There is nothing wrong with the Court of Appeal judgement," De Silva said.

He contended that the judgement made by the Court of Appeal to register the students of SAITM provisionally as a medical practitioner in terms of Section 29(2) of the Medical Ordinance could not be challenged through this appeal due to the facts presented by the SLMC in the appeal were not sufficient to challenge the order of the Court of Appeal.

Further hearing fixed for September 29.

On a previous occasion, the Attorney General informed Court that there was a possibility of a settlement being reached between the parties regarding the issue of SAITM.

The Supreme Court Bench comprised Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice Anil Goonaratne.

At a previous occasion, the Supreme Court had allowed Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) to intervene into the Appeal filed by the SLMC.

Through this appeal petition, the SLMC sought an order to set aside the judgement dated January 31, 2017 by the Court of Appeal.

The petitioner further sought an interim order to stay the operation of the judgement made in the writ application bearing No.CA Writ 187/2016 by the Court of Appeal.

Delivering the judgement on the writ petition filed by an MBBS graduate of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM) in Malabe, the Court of Appeal on January 31, held that SAITM was empowered to grant MBBS degrees and further held that the petitioner has legal rights to register at the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) as a medical practitioner in accordance with the Medical Ordinance. The Court of Appeal had observed that the petitioner, an MBBS graduate of SAITM had no obstacle to register at the SLMC as a medical practitioner in terms of the Section 29 (2) of the Medical Ordinance. The Court of Appeal observed that on or around August 30, 2011, the former Higher Education Minister had recognised SAITM as a degree awarding institute in terms of Section 25 (A) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978.

The Court of Appeal further observed that the Higher Education Minister has not taken any steps to revoke the concerned decision in terms of Section 27 of the said Act.

“SAITM is empowered to grant MBBS degrees,” the Court observed.

In its judegment, the Court of Appeal observed that the SLMC had no power to take over the functions of the Higher Education Minister and further observed that the SLMC had acted in violation of Section 19 of the Medical Ordinance when making regulations relating to SAITM.

The Court further held that the SLMC had acted in violation of the Medical Ordinance without having any power to do so.

President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva appeared for the SLMC. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva with Sugath Caldera appeared for the respondent. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam PC appeared on behalf of the Attorney General. President’s Counsel Faiz Musthapha appeared for SAITM. President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana with Counsel Navin Marapana and Ravindranath Dabare, appeared on behalf of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA).