LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Wednesday declared unlawful an eight member provincial committee formed by the Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) chairman to select manuscripts of the books in various subjects for their free distribution in public sector schools.
Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan declared unlawful the provincial selection committee on the petitions moved by GFH Publishers and others through Advocate Qazi Misbahul Hassan.
The petitioners through their counsel submitted that in 2006 examination system of country’s school was switched from book based system to curriculum based system and National Textbooks and Learning Materials Policy and Plan of Action was settled in this regard.
He said need of such action plan was to design and recommend the Textbook policy for improvement in textbooks and learning materials.
Following the policy and national curricula of 2006, the PTB chairman invited national and provincial publishing houses and panels of authors to develop the manuscripts in various subjects, and advertised the details in this regard, the counsel argued.
In response of the advertisement, besides other publishers the petitioners also submitted manuscripts for subjects “General Science for Grade-V and VII” and were approved by the Punjab Curriculum Authority (PCA) in second presentation and it issued no objection certificate (NOC) in the petitioners’ favour, the counsel contended.
He added that when the petitioners’ manuscripts were in process of final selection, the PTB chairman using a backdoor process introduced its own texts in violation of the terms and conditions mentioned in the advertisement to compete the same submitted by them.
Meanwhile, the PTB chairman formed his own provincial committee comprising eight members including headmasters of schools so that he could select books of his own choice. A notification was also issued in this regard, the counsel argued.
Quoting the Punjab Curriculum Authority Act 2012, he added that the academicians of vice chancellors’ level could be the part of the selection committee for selecting the best book for free distribution in the public sector schools.
He requested the court declare the formation of eight member committee as illegal and unlawful. Representing the PTB, Advocate Agha Abul Hassan Arif argued that the committee was formed as per law. He requested the court to dismiss the petitions.
The court recorded the arguments of both sides and declared the eight member committee as unlawful by setting aside the impugned notification.
The detailed verdict would be issued later.
Also, the Lahore High Court ordered special investigation unit (SIU) to probe into allegation leveled on FIA director Punjab of getting suspended his two relative SDOs on some domestic issue.