Hospitals’ devolution case: SHC issues notice to federal law officer

KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued a notice to federal law officer on a petition against devolution of three major public healthcare centers – Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), National Institute of Child Health (NICH) and National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) – to the Sindh government.

A SHC large bench comprising Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, Munib Akhtar, and Mohammad Ali Mazhar, was hearing a petition filed by 150 employees of the hospitals, who moved the court against the hospitals’ devolution to the provincial government under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

Taking notice of the federal law officer’s absence during the hearing today, the court issued notice to him to show up on the next hearing and assist the court on the matter. It adjourned the hearing till April 13 while extending its stay order against the hospitals’ devolution.

Nominating the federal and Sindh governments, inter-provincial coordination division, implementation committee of the 18th Amendment and the managements of JPMC, NICD and NICVD hospitals as respondents, the petitioners pleaded the court to declare as unconstitutional the devolution of hospitals to the provincial government.

The petitioners’ counsel submitted that the three hospitals were national institutions and they provided quality healthcare services, adding, Under the IVth schedule of the constitution, it was clearly mentioned that all research, legal and medical training providing institutions were under the control of federal government, so they could not be handed over to provincial governments.

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