Around 1000 foreign medical graduates, who returned to Sri Lanka to pursue a career in medicine and serve their country, said an undue delay of conducting the mandatory Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) violated their fundamental rights. They said the exams had not been held for more than a year. The graduates with medical degrees from universities recognised by the SLMC, are eligible to sit for four part examination after they submitted their degree certificates and relevant documents. The SLMC was vested with powers to conduct each part of the examinations at least twice a year.
The last ERPM (part A&D) exams were held in July 2019. The graduates said since then exams had not been held, citing pending legal cases in the Supreme Court where the SLMC was appointed as one of the respondents. In June this year, it was revealed by the Registrar of SLMC through a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by affected students that six court cases were pending in court, and the graduates were assured that once the cases concluded, exams would be conducted. On July 23, the Supreme Court gave separate verdicts, favourable to the foreign medical graduates, outlining the fact that according to the Medical Ordinance of Sri Lanka, there was no minimum A/L requirement for practicing medicine in Sri Lanka. The court said the SLMC was operating outside its rights in imposing arbitrary requirements upon foreign medical graduates.
Following the court verdict, the SLMC released a notice calling all eligible candidates to apply for the ERPM Part A and D. The period for applying for the exam was from August 24 to September 4. Later the SLMC issued another notice which said the closing date for applications had been extended indefinitely. They did not give any reasons for this change. “Though no answer was given in writing, speaking to some officials of the SLMC led us to reliably suspect that there is some internal strife within the SLMC over the verdicts of the Supreme Court, and his has resulted in the exam being delayed indefinitely,” One of the graduates said.