PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial government and Peshawar Diocese’s bishop to respond to a petition of several teachers of the Edwardes College requesting to declare their historical educational institution autonomous run by the board of governors notified in 1974.
A bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim also directed the college’s principal not to take any adverse action against the petitioners.
The bench declared that the current petition along with an earlier petition filed by Bishop Hamphery Sarfaraz Peter requesting to declare the college a private institution would be heard on June 20 to decide the issue at the earliest.
PHC asks govt not to make any move, which adversely affects college affairs
It also extended an interim relief granted earlier on the petition filed by the Diocese’s bishop directing the government including the governor not to take any adverse action about the affairs of the college.
Additional advocate general Waqar Ahmad Khan said as a previous petition decided in 2016 through declared the college a private educational institution, the stand of the provincial government on the matter was not heard, while important facts were also concealed from the court.
The bench directed him to file comments on behalf of the provincial chief secretary, higher education secretary, finance secretary and chairman of the college’s board of governors, which is the governor, following which arguments of all parties will be heard.
Advocate Ali Gohar Durrani appeared for faculty members, while Farmanullah Khattak was the counsel for BoG member Prof Gulzar Jalal, who has requested the court to implead him as respondent in the petition of the bishop. Ashfaq Khan defended Bishop Humphery Sarfaraz Peter.
Lawyer Ali Gohar requested the court to declare the new BoG established by Peshawar Diocese’s bishop few weeks ago illegal.
He said the education minister informed the house on June 17, 1974, about an understanding between the central and provincial governments that declared that a governing body headed by the provincial governor and having representation of the education department had been formed to manage the affairs of the college.
The lawyer said after nationalisation, as Edwardes College was the sole private missionary institution prior to the nationalisation, the provincial government formed a proper board having all stakeholders as members and governor as chairman.
He said in Mar the Bishop in connivance with the Principal held a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Diocese and came up with the idea of a new BoG by disbanding the existing board headed by the Governor.
He said the bishop’s act of setting up a rival BoG was illegal.
He added that the college had been funded for more than five decades by the provincial government regularly and as such the College after attaining financial stability became an autonomous institution and not a private institution.
The bishop had filed his petition last month requesting the court to declare the college a private institution and also to restrain the respondents including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor from interfering into the administration and other affairs of the college.
Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2019