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KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday issued notices to two private schools and other respondents on a petition against increases in tuition fees.

The parents of over 130 students jointly moved the SHC and contended that two private schools, Head Start and Foundation Public, have enhanced the tuition fee from 10 to 13 per cent.

They argued that identical matters have already been pending before the SHC and it had also asked the private schools not to increase the fee by more than five per cent.

Parents of over 130 students moved the SHC

Impleading both the schools, education and finance departments as well as other federal and provincial authorities as respondents, the petitioners also challenged the imposition of income tax on tuition fee.

After a preliminary hearing, a two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi issued notices to the respondents for Sept 7 with direction to file comments and also restrained the private schools from increasing tuition fee by more than five per cent.

It may be recalled that the parents of students last year had also challenged the tuition fee increases in four private schools in violation of the Sindh Private Educational Institutions (Regulation and Control) Ordinance, 2001.

They said their children were studying at private schools situated in KDA, Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Qasimabad, and the schools’ administrations had increased the tuition fee by 12pc to 60pc in violation of the ordinance.

Petition against result of NA-250

Another bench of the SHC on Tuesday directed the counsel for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to appear on Friday (today) to argue on a petition requesting to set aside the result of NA-250.

The petitioner Fayyaz Kaimkhani of the MQM-Pakistan submitted that he contested the July 25 elections from NA-250 (Karachi West-III) and secured 29,385 votes whereas Attaullah of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf obtained 36,060 votes.

He contended that his polling agents were forced out of polling stations during the counting and maintained that Form 45 was provided at only nine polling stations out of 275.

The petitioner argued that the ECP and the returning officer have failed to act in accordance with the law and pleaded to set aside the result.

A two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar observed that they could not suspend ECP’s notification on constitutional petition and added that the Supreme Court also said matters of notifications, issued by ECP regarding returned candidate, can be placed before the election tribunals.

However, the counsel for petitioner insisted that the Supreme Court’s observations made in Khawaja Saad Rafiq’s case were misreported by the media. Therefore, the bench directed the lawyer for the ECP to turn up on Friday.

Missing persons

The SHC on Thursday directed the Karachi police chief to investigate a matter pertaining to a missing person and sought report by Aug 30.

A two-judge bench of the SHC headed by Justice Niamatullah Phulpoto was hearing a petition filed by a woman seeking whereabouts of her husband Mujeeb-ur-Rehman.

The petitioner contended that the personnel of law enforcement agencies picked up her husband around nine months ago and since then his whereabouts remained unknown.

Impleading DG Rangers, provincial police officer, provincial home department and others as respondents, the petitioner pleaded for the recovery of alleged detainee.

The petitioner complained that the members of a joint investigation team, formed to investigate the missing persons’ cases, were transferred one after the other and maintained that the JIT was not helping in her case.

Responding to a question of Justice Phulpoto, SSP Asif Razzaq, who is the focal person in missing person’s cases, informed the bench that Additional Inspector General Dr Amir Shaikh took charge of Karachi police as its chief.

The bench handed over the investigation of the case to newly-appointed AIG Karachi and directed him to file report by Aug 30.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2018