High Court grants relief to Kashmiri woman who obtained medical degree in PoK
After the Centre withheld Hadiya Chisti's registration, the J&K high court asked the MEA to consider her case because 'PoK is part of India.' Observing that the case poses a “unique problem” calling for a “unique resolution”, Justice Kumar observed that Chisti has obtained her degree from a college located within the territory of India.
The J&K high court has asked the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to consider recognising the medical degree of a Kashmiri who pursued her MBBS from a college in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
In his judgment, Justice Sanjeev Kumar observed that it was only after the permission given by the ministry that the student, Hadiya Chisti, went to pursue her studies in PoK.
A resident of Nowgam, an uptown locality in the summer capital Srinagar, Chisti joined Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College in Mirpur in 2012 after completing her 12th class exam from the J&K Board of School Education.
In 2017, in anticipation of the completion of her course, she applied with the ministry for issuance of an eligibility certificate for the recognition of her degree.
While the request was pending, she qualified the course. In the meantime, with a “view to accord consideration to Chisti’s request” the MEA approached the consular division of the High Commission of India at Islamabad to verify the degree.
The matter was, accordingly, taken up by the Indian High Commission at Islamabad with Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs.
On July 6, 2017, the Pakistan foreign ministry told the Indian High Commission that the degree awarded to Chisti by the college was a recognised qualificatio.
The young doctor returned to Kashmir last October after completing her degree and the mandatory one-year internship at a medical college in Lahore.
But the National Board of Examination has refused to allow her to take the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination/Screening Test. As per the Indian Medical Council Act, any Indian who obtains a medical degree from a foreign country shall not be entitled to be enrolled on the government medical registrar unless he or she qualifies through the test.
Chisti knocked the doors of the J&K high court on October 26, 2018, which passed an interm direction to the government to allow her to take the exam.
She scored 156 points (out of the available 300) and qualified the exam, which was held on December 14, 2018.
“But the authorities have since withheld her registration,” Chisti’s father told The Wire. “Unless the authorities issue the registration, she can neither start practice nor pursue higher education.”
The situation again compelled the family to move the court.
‘PoK part of India, consider the case’
Observing that the case poses a “unique problem” calling for a “unique resolution”, Justice Kumar observed that Chisti has obtained her degree from a college located within the territory of India.
“There should be no dispute that the area known as PoK, where the medical college is situated is part of India though it is on the other side of the LoC and is under the occupation and administrative control of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” the court ruled. “If that be the admitted position, a medical institution operating in the area cannot be expected to seek any recognition from the Medical Council of India (MCI).”
The Mirpur College is recognised under Pakistan’s Medical and Dental Council (PM&DC) which is a body similar to the MCI. It is also listed under the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education Research (FAIMER).
The court said that the MCI does not exercise de-facto control and powers over PoK, though it may claim to have territorial jurisdiction extending to that area de-jure.
It observed there was no mechanism in place and in the given circumstances, “there could not be such mechanism which would provide for recognition of the medical institutions located in PoK by the MCI”.
“I deem it appropriate to call upon respondent No. 1 (the Union ministry) to consider the case of the petitioner for recognition of her qualification of MBBS and also for registering her as a medical practitioner on rolls of Indian Medical Register or State Medical Registry, as the case may be, purely on equitable considerations,” reads the judgment.
Courtesy: The Wire