KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday restrained the private schools from collecting fees for May and June in advance and also directed the parents of students to pay the fees in accordance with the court order.
The three-member SHC bench headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi observed that schools could not collect fees of two months in one go and warned them of contempt proceedings in case of non-compliance.
When a set of applications, moved by the parents of students seeking contempt of court proceedings against the managements of some private schools over non-implementation of the SHC judgement regarding enhancement in annual tuition fees came up for hearing on Monday, a lawyer for one of the private schools argued that the applicants as well as the other parents of students had not been paying the fees since August last year.
The counsel further contended that the amended fees vouchers were issued in the light of the SHC’s September order as well as the Supreme Court’s judgement handed down in December last.
When the court asked if the management of other schools had been complying with the court orders, the applicants and their counsel said the Beaconhouse School System and City School were allegedly not complying with the court orders as they had been simultaneously demanding fees for May and June.
The bench remarked that nobody could collect fees for two months in one go and warned that if any school demanded or collected fees of summer vacations in advance, it would face contempt proceedings.
The court further said the schools that collected fees in advance should refund it and also asked the parents to pay the fees in accordance with the court orders.
The counsel for private schools argued that the management of the schools had reduced the fees by 20 per cent as per the order of the apex court and produced fee vouchers of their different campuses in court.
Responding to a contention of the counsel for parents, Justice Abbasi asked the applicants to examine the amended vouchers of fees and pay them, adding that whether the lawyer for applicants were seeking an order to close down these schools. The matter was adjourned till April 22.
The parents of a large number of students enrolled in various private schools across Karachi filed applications seeking contempt of court proceedings against the management of four schools — Beaconhouse School System, Foundation Public School, Head Start School System and the City School — for allegedly defying the Sept 3, 2018 judgement of the three-judge bench of the SHC which ruled that the private schools could not enhance the annual tuition fees by more than five per cent.
They also impleaded the education department and directorate of inspection of private schools as respondents for their alleged failure to enforce the judgement.
The lawyers for the applicants contended that despite the SHC judgement, the schools had enhanced the tuition fees by more than five per cent.
On Sept 3, the same bench had declared the enhancement in annual tuition fees by more than five per cent by the private schools and institutions as illegal and directed their managements to refund the amount within three months.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019