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ISLAMABAD, Aug 10: The Supreme Court gave the Punjab authorities on Friday three days to end what it termed exploitation of teachers of Divisional Public School (DPS) Sargodha who are drawing a monthly salary as low as Rs4,500 which is less than wages of labourers in the province.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry which had taken a suo motu notice of the issue warned that the court would not brook violation of the Constitution in this respect.

If the Punjab chief secretary was helpless, the chief executive would be asked to explain the reason for teachers’ exploitation, the court said, adding that schools should be closed if the government could not pay salary to teachers. “Tall claims of education being top priority of the government are made but the situation on ground is altogether different.”

The chief secretary who was summoned by the court said the provincial government had nothing to do with the 42 divisional public schools (DPS) having autonomous status. He said these schools were not provided funds by the government and the authority to increase teachers’ salary was with the board of directors of the schools which was scheduled to meet on Saturday.

The chief secretary said if the government sponsored one divisional school it would also have to sponsor other similar and over 100 NGO schools.

But the reply did not satisfy the court which noted that the DPS Sargodha had experienced teachers and was showing 100 per cent results.

The court observed that the low salary paid to teachers was not only unjust but also a violation of the Constitution.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja said there were schools in Punjab with zero performance but their teachers were getting salary much more than what was being given to the teachers in DPS Sargodha.

When the chairman of the board of directors of schools and Sargodha commissioner informed the court that there were 50 students from Balochistan in the school and an attempt was made to get funds in their names to meet expenses, the chief justice said Balochistan’s name should not be used everywhere.