Court directs director general private schools to ensure that education institutions follow order
The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed the provincial government to take action against any schools that are still refusing to give a 20% concession on fees announced by the government for the coronavirus emergency period.
The court directed the Director General Private Schools to ensure that the educational institutions follow the order. It also urged the parents to lodge complaints about any schools that are not giving the concession.
"DG Private Schools should take action after receiving complaints,” ordered the SHC, directing the government to submit a report within 20 days on the implementation of court orders.
The court then disposed of the application after the DG assured that he would implement the orders and after no party to the case objected to the directives.
Private schools and non-government organisations had respectively challenged and supported the Sindh COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance that had bound educational institutions to not charge more than 80% of the total monthly fees.
The British Overseas School and other private schools had contended that the ordinance was promulgated at a time when the lockdown had effectively been lifted and many of the industries had already been allowed to resume operations. According to them, the ordinance on such a belated stage contradicted the government’s policy of easing lockdown.
They argued that the legislation provides that relief shall be provided to the affected people of the province; however, the Sindh government under the garb of the impugned ordinance is seeking its enforcement as applicable to all parents, which even includes parents that were not financially or otherwise affected on account of the pandemic.
They had further argued that private schools across the province were willing to provide concession of even more than 20% to parents; however, the concession should be only for those parents who were affected by the pandemic lockdown, and the mandatory imposition of concession to all the parents was unjust.
The high court was therefore requested to declare the relief ordinance as well as the section 3 (2) (a) of the ordinance as ultra vires the Constitution as it placed unreasonable restrictions on the fundamental rights of the petitioners. However, the petition was eventually turned down.