Schools violating fee cut law will face action, SHC told

Updated 24 May, 2020

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SHC bench directs directorate of inspection/registration of private schools to file comments by June 3. — Wikimedia Commons/File
SHC bench directs directorate of inspection/registration of private schools to file comments by June 3. — Wikimedia Commons/File

KARACHI: A top provincial law officer has informed the Sindh High Court that the law about 20 per cent concession to parents in school fees was in the field and in case of any violation the authorities will take action against offenders.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar directed the directorate of inspection/registration of private schools to file comments by June 3 in a petition moved by the parents of some students seeking implementation of the concession in tuition fee as provided in the Sindh Covid-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance, 2020.

The same bench also directed the provincial authorities to file comments in another petition moved by some private schools and associations challenging some provisions of the ordinance regarding 20pc concession in tuition fees of April and May.

The parents of students through their lawyer Mohammad Vawda moved the SHC for the enforcement and implementation of some provisions related to payment of school fees and reduction accorded by the provincial government during the Covid-19 pandemic under the emergency relief ordinance.

The petitioner requested the bench that during the pendency of their petition, directives be issued to the provincial education authorities to take action against those private schools violating the law.

Some private schools and associations have challenged ordinance calling for fee cut

Advocate general of Sindh Salman Talibuddin made a clear statement before the bench that the ordinance was in the field and in case of any violation the authorities concerned would take action in accordance with the law.

The bench issued a notice to the directorate of inspection/ registration of private schools to file comments till June 3.

The private schools and their associations had moved the SHC for the third time against the 20pc concession in tuition fees.

Counsel for the petitioners Arshad Tayebaly argued that they challenged the ordinance on the ground that the imposition of mandatory concession to even those parents not affected by the pandemic was unjust and in clear violation of the fundamental rights and right to trade and property.

The petitioners contended that they were willing to provide more than 20pc concession to those parents directly affected by the pandemic.

Initially, the directorate of inspection/ registration of private institutions had issued a notification on April 1 for private schools to provide relief in the form of concession of at least 20pc in the April and May fees in view of the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the private schools and their associations had challenged the same in the SHC, but the petition was disposed of for being infructuous since the directorate issued a special order about fee concession superseding the April 1 notification.

The private schools again petitioned the SHC against the special order and also obtained an interim stay order. However, the SHC vacated the stay order after it was informed that the Sindh Covid-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance was promulgated and it had superseded the April 28 special order.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2020