LAHORE - Education whether can be used for commercial purposes is a point on which the Lahore High Court sought further arguments from the Punjab government and private schools yesterday.

A full bench headed by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh of the LHC heard the case and adjourned further hearing for March 14.

Shahid Hamid Advocate, who was representing the private schools, argued that the Punjab government recently passed law against private schools is against the constitution.

He said that every citizen has 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.

A K 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.

Meanwhile, the LHC yesterday ordered the Punjab government to ensure disbursement of Christian grant among parliamentarians of the opposition parties elected on reserved seats in the provincial assembly. Justice Faisal Zaman Khan issued the order on petition of Shunila Ruth, a Punjab Assembly member of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. The judge ordered the Punjab Chief Secretary

Her counsel Sheraz Zaka argued that the PML-N led Punjab government treated members of the opposition discriminately while disbursing Christian grant and other funds among the MPAs elected on reserved seats for minorities. He said

The counsel said Christian MPAs of ruling party were getting Christian grant fund but the petitioner (Ms Ruth), the only Christian MPA under reserved seats from PTI, was being treated in a discriminatory manner. He asked the court to order the government not to discriminate the opposition members and distribute the Christian grant to the petitioner.

The judge directed Punjab chief secretary and DCO Lahore to include name of the petitioner in Christian quota fund within four weeks.

In another matter, the LHC directed Advocate General Punjab to assist the court on three identical petitions challenging the recently enacted law “Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016”. Justice Shahid Waheed issued notice to AGP for one week. A female lawyer Naheed Baig and others had filed the petition and pointed out that the impugned legislation would lead the traditionally strong family system in the society to disaster. They said the law was not only a violation of fundamental rights but also an impractical.

They submitted that women protection law had badly ridiculed the status of men in family system. They requested to the court to strike down the impugned law being repugnant to the Constitution.