Written by Tharushan Fernando
18 Jan, 2016 | 10:38 pm
A fundamental rights petition filed at the Supreme Court by five students of the private medical college in Malabe was withdrawn on Jan. 18.
The petition was taken up before a bench comprising justices Chandra Ekanayake, Eva Wanasundara and Sisira de Abrew. The petition was filed claiming that the Health Ministry was in contempt of court, having failed to provide clinical training for students at the Private Medical College in Malabe, after agreeing before the Supreme Court to do so.
Attorneys representing the students in court noted that they have decided to withdraw the petition as the Health Ministry had already agreed to provide them with clinical training at the Avissawella and Kaduwela hospitals.
The Government Medical Officers Association had also sought the permission of court to be represented in this case as a stakeholder. The bench noted, however, that they could not do so as the petition had been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Medical Faculty Student Activists Committee staged a silent demonstration opposite the court complex on Monday in protest of the health ministry’s decision.
Convener of the committee, ,Ryan Jayalath, stated that the Jayewardenepura Hospital is the main location for clinical training for students at the Jayewardenepura faculty. So students at the Jayewardenepura faculty are being evicted in order to provide training for students from SAITM in Malabe.
An organisation calling themselves the People’s Movement for the Protection of Free Health Rights also staged a demonstration opposite the Avissawella Base Hospital on Monday to protest the provision of clinical training at a public hospital for students of a private medical college.
Furthermore, students of the private medical college met with the General Secretary of the JVP on Jan. 18 and requested that the party not oppose them receiving practical training. General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva, noted that the only solution to this problem is for the government to take over the private medical college in Malabe.
“This is where we are exerting pressure. The government must intervene immediately to resolve this matter,” he said
Media Spokesperson for the GMOA, Dr. Navin De Zoysa, meanwhile, noted that the problem exists with the fact that the Health Ministry has made a promise that is completely contradictory with its previous promise. He said the health secretary has gone beyond his powers and has misused power to provide a state asset to a private business.
“We will be going to court against the health secretary as a public official and the health minister as the decision-maker,” he said
Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says he will take steps to implement the decision of the Supreme Court. Issuing a statement, the minister noted that if persons wish to disregard the court’s decision and take legal action against himself and the secretary, then he is prepared to face it. He added that the matter can be settled in the Supreme Court.
Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne, noted that these children must have the opportunity to receive clinical training at public hospitals but many people are acting to prevent this. He said the court has decided that public hospitals should be opened to these students.
“They are all our children,” he said, further adding that some succeed in entering a state education faculty while some do not get this opportunity. He noted that this is not because they lack skill, but because there are no opportunities.
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