KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday barred private schools in the province from slapping on late fee surcharges and additional fees onto existing school fees.

The court issued the ruling on a petition against a government notification on a five to 10 per cent hike in private school fees in the province.

Parents of students belonging to various schools in the province had petitioned the SHC in December 2017 to reverse the government order increasing school fees, saying that school management could not increase fees by more than 5pc in an academic year as per regulations; however, some private schools had increased the fee by more than 10pc. They asked the court to direct the authorities concerned to restrain school managements from increasing fees and to ensure they follow rules and regulations.

During today’s hearing, the lawyer from the petitioning parents’ side said that schools do not issue fee vouchers on time and then tack on a late fee surcharge to the voucher once it is provided to parents. “It is like they want to deliberately add the late fee surcharge to the voucher,” one parent argued.

An SHC bench headed by Justice Muneeb Akhtar ordered private schools to refrain from adding a late fee surcharge to fee vouchers and from charging parents any extra fees.

The bench also rendered the government notification regarding the five to 10pc increase in students’ fees void.

The bench remarked that the hike suggested by the government is illegal, and that a policy should be devised to create a legal framework for increasing school fees.