Notification issued on petitions by private schools challenging govt notification
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued notices and sought reply from government and the top private educational institutes’ regulatory body on petitions filed by two private schools challenging the federal government’s decision of no fee increase this academic year.
Justice Aamer Farooq, while maintaining status quo in the case, issued notices to the federal government and the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira), with directions to submit a reply before November 12.
The City School and the Beaconhouse School through their counsel, Asma Jahangir and Shahid Hamid, have approached the IHC challenging the federal government’s notification of September 23 directing private educational institutes to withdraw the raise in tuition fee.
Read: Fee-hike controversy: Private schools to resolve matter in two weeks
The government issued directives either to refund the amount charged from students or adjust to the next payable fee. While linking the fee increase with the final decision of the court, Hamid submitted that Beaconhouse had asked the parents to submit fee as per the previous rates.
In the petition filed on behalf of the City School, Jahangir stated that the notification had prohibited the petitioner to increase fee without the permission of the authority established through PEIRA, which was illegal and arbitrary.
Both counsels argued that various restrictions imposed on petitioners through the government notification were in violation of Article 18 of the Constitution.
They argued that the government had miserably failed to adhere to its constitutional obligation of providing free education to children, adding that the government was trying to transfer the burden of its failure on the shoulders of the private educational institutes.
No notice was issued to the petitioners before passing of the government notification and no attempt made to see whether the increase in fee was as per past pattern, Hamid said.
The respondents cannot constitutionally deprive petitioners of their rights to charge fee fixed by them without compensating them with appropriate amounts of subsidy in case they wish to enforce a policy decision, they said.
They also said that the government notification had been passed without any consultation with the stakeholders, while publicising meetings with a handful of agitating parents.
Following the hearing, the case was adjourned till November 12.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.