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August 14, 2020

SHC orders action against schools violating fee cut decision

Karachi

August 14, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the Directorate of Inspections & Registration of Private Institutions Sindh (Dirpis) to implement the provincial government’s law whereby 20 per cent concession in fees is to be provided to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to take action against the schools that are violating the fee cut decision.

The direction came on a petition filed by the Rasheed Razvi Centre for Constitutional & Human Rights and the All Sindh Parents Association, who seek the enforcement of different sections of the Sindh COVID-19 Emergency Relief Ordinance 2020, whereby some relaxations and concessions have been allowed to students of different educational institutions across the province during the pandemic.

The petitioners said that despite clear provisions in the ordinance with regard to relaxation and relief, various educational institutions are not implementing the law, and are charging 100 per cent fees from students in violation of the beneficial provisions contained in the said

ordinance.

The petitioners’ counsel argued that despite clear orders passed by the court in the presence of the advocate general, various educational institutions have been violating the ordinance and are not implementing the law in letter and spirit, while students are being deprived of the relaxation and relief by their educational institutions.

The counsel said that the Sindh AG on May 21 also gave a clear statement that the law is in field, and that the competent authority shall take action in accordance with the law in case of any violation.

The additional advocate general reiterated the statement of the AG and said Dirpis is responsible for implementing the law. The Dirpis director general undertook that necessary action will be taken across the board. He assured the court that he will strictly implement the law and take action against all violations.

The provincial law officer said that the petition has been filed for proper implementation of the law, so he has no objection if it is allowed. He also argued that the emergency relief ordinance has now become an act, which will be notified in the official gazette.

The SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar after hearing the case, by consent, disposed of the petition with directions to Dirpis to implement the law at all the private educational institutions of the province and submit the first compliance report within 20 days.

The court said that although it is the responsibility of Dirpis, who is the competent authority to implement the law in letter and spirit, parents may also file their individual complaints at the office of the Dirpis DG, who should take action in accordance with the law immediately after receiving such complaints.