The Attorney General yesterday (21st Nov.) informed the Supreme Court that a nine-member committee, appointed to look into the progress of the implementation of the recommendations by the Presidential Committee, is to submit a report pertaining to the SAITM issue before 31st December this year.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appearing on behalf of the Attorney General made these remarks when the appeal petition pertaining to the SAITM issue was taken up before the Supreme Court.
On a previous occasion, a majority of a divided three-judge Supreme Court Bench granted special leave to appeal with a petition filed by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) challenging the judgment of the Court of Appeal to register a student of South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM) in Malabe provisionally as a medical practitioner in terms of Section 29(2) of the Medical Ordinance.
The Supreme Court fixed the matter for argument on 23rd and 29th January next year.
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 the Court of Appeal.
The petitioner 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 judgement on the writ petition filed by a MBBS graduate of the SAITM, the Court of Appeal on January 31 held that the 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, the MBBS graduate has 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 recognised the 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.
“The SAITM is empowered to grant the MBBS degree,” the Court 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 the 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.