LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday set aside a decision of the Punjab caretaker government of renting out Lawrence Road examination centres for non-educational purposes.

Justice Shahid Karim passed the order allowing a petition filed by Kashif Shahzad, the president of the Punjab Teachers’ Union, and others.

Advocate Mian Dawood, on behalf of the petitioners, argued that the Punjab government had taken a stance that it was renting out the examination centres’ building due to financial losses.

He said the government also took a plea of traffic congestion around the Lawrence Road to rent out the examination centres of Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE).

He argued that the superior courts had long settled the point that a property allocated for education purposes cannot be used for any other purpose.

Additional Advocate General Samia Khalid argued that the government had the power to take the building on rent.

Asked about the purpose to get the examination centres on rent, the law officer said staff of the Higher Education Department (HED) would be shifted to the building.

Justice Karim considered the reply of the law officer as the government’s admission to seek the building for non-education purposes.

The judge observed that the record showed that the government forced the BISE to get the examination centre’s building on rent.

BISE counsel Mehboob Sheikh stated that the board could rent out its properties.

However, the petitioners’ counsel said the board was authorised to rent out its properties but only for educational purposes.

The judge directed the government to formally advertise if it wanted to rent out the building of the examination centres but only for educational purposes.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2024

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