The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the Court of Appeal judgment dated January 31, 2017 regarding a legal issue pertaining to the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM).
Court ordered the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to pay Rs.100,000 as legal cost to petitioner Dhilmi Kasunda Suriyarachchi, a student of SAITM in Malabe for unnecessarily delaying and refusing to register her as a medical practitioner.
On January 31, 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled that the petitioner has a legal right to provisionally register as a medical practitioner in terms of Section 29(2) of the Medical Ordinance since she has fulfilled the necessary requirements.
The Supreme Court three-judge-Bench comprising Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Nalin Perera and Justice Prasanna Jayawardena unanimously decided to dismiss the appeal filed by the SLMC challenging the Court of Appeal order dated January 31, 2017.
While handing out a few paragraphs of the 55-page judgment, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena observed that the SLMC has unnecessarily delayed the petitioner obtaining provisional registration as a medical practitioner and would have, thereby, caused her to bear considerable expenses in addition to causing grave prejudice to the petitioner. Accordingly, the Supreme Court ordered the SLMC to pay the Petitioner a sum of Rs.100,000 by way of costs.
It has no powers outside those expressly conferred on it by the provisions of the Medical Ordinance. Under and in terms of and by operation of the provisions of the Medical Ordinance and the Universities Act, the petitioner is entitled to provisional registration as a medical practitioner under Section 29 (2) of the Medical Ordinance and the SLMC is required, by the law, to forthwith grant that provisional registration to the petitioner. It follows that, thereafter, the SLMC is obliged to accord to the petitioner, without restriction or delay, all the rights which ordinarily flow from provisional registration as a medical practitioner under Section 29 (2) of the Medical Ordinance,” the Supreme Court observed.
On 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 judgment dated January 31, 2017 by Court of Appeal.
The SLMC further sought an interim order to stay the operation of the judgment made in the writ application bearing No.CA Writ 187/2016 by Court of Appeal. Delivering its judgment on the writ petition filed by a 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 is 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, a MBBS graduate of SAITM has no obstacle to register at 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 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 the Section 27 of the said Act. “SAITM is empowered to grant MBBS degree,” the Court of Appeal observed.
In its judgment, the Court of Appeal observed that the SLMC has 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 Faisz 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).
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