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SC seeks report on taking back facilities from students by private schools

SC seeks report on taking back facilities from students by private schools

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Law and Justice Commission to submit report on taking back facilities from students as well as the dismissal of teachers by private schools in response to its order for fees reduction.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar passed the directions while hearing a case pertaining to exorbitant fees charged by private schools.

In December, the court ordered to private school charging more than Rs. 5000 fee to be reduced by 20 percent. It also directed the schools to return back the fee collected in summer vacation from the students.

The Chief Justice observed that the private schools” owners are showing negative reaction over the 20 percent fee cut verdict by cutting down basic facilities to the students.

He remarked that “The schools are now showing reaction over the fee cut verdict.

They are ridiculing the court’s decision; we won’t tolerate such actions. We will put them on trial”.

Meanwhile, President Private Schools Association Zafran Elahi informed the court that the schools will shut down if they give back the fees taken in vacations.

“It’s better if such schools are shut down which are unable to give back fees. You are trying to blackmail the court,” the CJ observed.

SCBA President Amanullah Kanzai told the court that along with reducing its fees, the Beaconhouse School System had started treating its enrolled students like stepchildren.

“My own children were behaved poorly with,” he told the bench.

Secretary Law and Justice Commission, Abdul Raheem informed the court that one school reduced its fee by Rs1,000 by cutting out the Quran classes, while another had asked parents to enroll their children in a co-educational school.

He said a school in Islamabad which had written to parents telling them that after the Supreme Court”s “unfair decision” it was forced to decrease the quality of its standard of education.

An Amicus curiae, Faisal Siddiqui told the court that private schools do not want to have themselves regulated and think the court was exceeding its authority, however, added that the apex court”s interim order was suitable.

Beaconhouse School System lawyer Shahid Hamid suggested that there should be a regulatory authority for schools in each district.

He said that in the last six months no priority was given to education.

To which Justice Faisal Arab asked the lawyer, “Why not talk about the last 70 years?”.

Federal Board of Revenue representative told the court that the private schools are tax defaulters of as many as Rs 1.2 billion, adding that action is being taken against seven big private schools but a few of them have taken stay orders.

The chief justice directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct a forensic audit of the schools who have not returned the fees, taken during vacation.

“We need a strong regulator to regulate private schools,” Justice Nisar observed. “The issue here is that the regulator is also involved,” he added.

“Justice Nisar remarked that court can make an implementation bench after the final hearing of the case,” and adjourned the hearing of the case indefinitely.

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