ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Wednesday adjourned hearing of a case regarding increase in fees by the private educational institutions till today (Thursday).
A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa heard the case.
During the course of proceedings, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the Lahore High Court verdict was full of contradictions. He observed that the LHC order in a statement said schools could increase fees while in another statement stated that schools could not increase the fees.
The chief justice remarked that finally the high court declared that the schools could not increase fees as two percent children would get affected.
He remarked that the government fixes prices of edible items in the holy month of Ramazan.
He observed that if the court legalised the control then the same law would also be implemented on fees of lawyers. If the court declared government’s control for fixation of edibile prices illegal then the prices of these edible items would not be controlled, he added.
The chief justice observed that there were lots of mistakes in the Lahore High Court verdict.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that legally schools could increase fees after recommendations of regulatory authority.
The chief justice remarked that the LHC also mentioned Article 10-A in the decision.
The Article 10-A can only be implied for trial and it could not be implied everywhere, he added.
He remarked that schools could only increase more than five percent fees at the time of licence renewal.
Makhdoom Ali Khan counsel for private schools said the prices of gas would be increased 80 percent till 2020. Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the schools could not increase fee by 80 percent if prices of gas increased.
Makhdoom Ali Khan said more than five percent increase should be allowed keeping in mind the inflation rate.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the court could not give indefinite powers to schools for increasing school fee.
If schools wanted to increase more than five percent fee than they would have to get approval from the regulatory authorities, he added.
He remarked that according to an audit report, the school owners earned high profits.
He observed that private schools were increasing fees at their own since 1986. He said the government had allowed only five percent increase in fees.
He observed that who would determine that the schools increased fees according to the law.
Justice Ijaz remarked that according to the law of Sindh government, the schools could increase fees after three years. He observed that the matter of fee could be reconsidered at the time of licence validation.
Makhdoom Ali Khan said inflation rate was at the highest and asked in these conditions whether it would be corrected to ban schools from increase in fees.
The chief justice responded that on one hand inflation rate raised while on the other income of parents was not increased. In these circumstances how the parents could not be overburdened, he added.
The counsel for the private schools said keeping in mind the whole scenario, the court should allow schools for reasonable increase in fees.
He said the court was guardian of basic rights. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked the court would not allow schools to become profit-earning factories.