Appeal Court directs Sri Lanka Medical Council to provisionally register SAITM graduates
By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that a graduate of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) had a legal right to provisionally register with the Medical Council since she had fulfilled the necessary requirements under the Medical Ordinance.
The President of the Appeal Court, Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda, with Justice S. Thurairajah, agreed with petitioner Malshini Suriyarachchi’s appeal to quash the decision of the Medical Council to refuse her provisional registration.
The Court compelled the Medical Council to provisionally register the petitioner as a medical practitioner.
The Court observed that under the Medical Ordinance, the Minister is empowered to declare by regulation that any provision of the said ordinance which enables the holder of that qualification to be registered shall cease to have effect in relation to such an institution.
It also observed that that it was clear that under the ordinance, the SLMC was empowered to appoint a committee and on its recommendation the SLMC may submit its recommendation to the Minister.
However, the role played by the SLMC ends at that point and any steps with regard to the said recommendations of the SLMC would have to be taken up by the Minister under the provisions of the ordinance.
It was further observed that the SLMC exceeded the power conferred on it without any legal basis.
The petitioner cited the SLMC, SAITM, Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella, Ministry Secretary, University Grants Commission and Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne as respondents. The GMOA and two others filed intervenient petitions.
Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera appeared for the petitioner. Ikram Mohamed PC appeared for the SLMC. Chanthani Liyanapatabendi with Ravendranath Dabare appeared for the GMOA. Faisz Musthapha PC with Riad Ameen and Faiza Markar instructed by Gowry Shangary Thavarasha appeared for SAITM.
SAITM hails landmark decision by Appeal Court
SAITM yesterday hailed what it called as the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal allowing provisional registration of its MBBS graduates.
South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine CEO Dr. Sameera Senaratne said according to the laws of Sri Lanka, the SLMC was always obliged to register students with a degree in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from a degree-awarding institute, as per section 29(1)(b)(i) of the Medical Ordinance as amended in 1988, in the same manner as a student with a degree from a State medical faculty.
The refusal of the SLMC to grant due provisional registration to SAITM MBBS graduates was subsequently successfully challenged in the Appeal Court vide Case No. CA/WRIT/187/2016,pointed out Dr. Senaratne.
“Today’s decision also reaffirms the legal basis of SAITM as per Gazette Extraordinary No. 1721/19 dated 30/11/2011 and subsequently No. 1829/36 dated 26/09/2013 in terms of Section 25A of the Universities Act of 1978, and tabled in Parliament, to award the degree Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).SAITM has always confidently asserted that its MBBS degree program is on par with or even better than similar programs offered by someState/foreign medical faculties,” Dr. Senaratne said.
“The historic decision of the Appeal Court is a victory for SAITM MBBS students who can now take their rightful place as fully-fledged doctors in this country. They have endured many hardships from opposing parties and now we are happy that justice has finally been served.We will continue to uphold the standards of the medical education in Sri Lanka in collaboration with all relevant authorities to produce doctors of highest standards,” Dr. Senaratneunderlined.
The decision indeed is a just recognition of the rights of all institutions such as SAITM and the people of this country, who have steadfastly fought for the freedom of education in Sri Lanka, he stressed.
GMOA to meet tomorrow to discuss court ruling
The State doctors’ trade union Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has decide to meet on Thursday to discuss the Appeal Court ruling allowing medical graduates of the private medical college in Malabe to be recognised by the Sri Lanka Medical Council.
The GMOA said its central committee plans to meet on Thursday and take a firm decision on the Court of Appeal’s order to register medical graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) under Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC).
The students of State medical schools yesterday staged a protest in Colombo Fort against the ruling.