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March 10, 2016

Higher education secretary summoned in VCs case


March 10, 2016


Lahore High Court Justice Shahid Karim Wednesday sought personal appearance of Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) secretary and his version in a case regarding appointment of vice chancellors at four public sector universities of Punjab. 

The court had already stayed the process for the impugned appointments. The varsities include Punjab University, Lahore College for Women University, University of Sargodha and Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology Multan. 

Dr Asmatullah of Zoology Department at Punjab University had challenged the process contending that Punjab Higher Education Commission and Punjab Higher Education Department initiated the process for the appointment of the VCs without lawful authority. He said search committees formed by the government were also illegal. 

He said the powers to appoint the VCs solely rested with Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. He asked the court to direct the government to appoint the VCs in accordance with the law and observe merit.

The government’s counsel refuted the allegations of the petitioner and said the whole process for the appointment of the VCs was in accordance with law. 

Justice Shahid Karim adjourned hearing till March 15 and directed the secretary to appear in person.

adjourned: A full bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh adjourned hearing by March 14 of petitions filed by parents against private schools for charging heavy fee from their students. 

The court has sought further arguments on a point whether education can be used for commercial purposes. 

During the course of hearing, Shahid Hamid, counsel of private schools, argued that the Punjab government recently passed a law which is against private schools. He argued that every citizen has his right to run business of his choice according to the Constitution. The counsel also contended that private schools have right to charge fee against facilities they are providing to the students and any restriction on their right is unlawful. AK Dogar Advocate, the counsel of the parents of the students, opposed the arguments of the private schools’ counsel saying that education cannot be used for commercial purposes. The law passed for regularisation of private schools’ fee is not against the Constitution. Private schools have no right to increase fee of their own choice. They are looting people in the name of education and have made education as source of earning which is shameful and against the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. After hearing both sides, the full bench directed both parties to argue on a point whether education can be used for commercial purposes.

Parents of the students had filed petitions that the private schools were charging heavy fee from their students. They were also demanding extra charges in the name of security, the petitioners said. They said payment of fee was not a matter of dispute the problem was that they always increase fee without any mechanism. They requested the court to bar the private schools from increasing unjustified fee amounts and others charges in the name of extra curriculum activities. 

notices: District Consumer Court Wednesday issued notices to PIA managing director on a consumer petition seeking damages of Rs 10 million for offloading a passenger from PIA aircraft while the passenger had a confirmed ticket. 

Previously, the court had summoned the MD but he did not bother to submit his comments before the court. The court issued notices again to the MD giving a strict direction to submit reply on next hearing on April 6. 

Muhammad Hasham, a local resident, had filed a consumer petition before the court contending that he had a confirm ticket of PIA flight PK-657 which was coming from Islamabad to Lahore. He said he was onboard but PIA staff offloaded him just to make onboard a PIA officer. He said the staff not only made him out of the aircraft but also humiliated him when he tried to record his protest.

He said due to this act of national airline he not only suffered mental agony but also missed important meetings which were scheduled for the day. He implored the court to direct the PIA administration to give him Rs 10 million as compensation. 

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