Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court yesterday conditionally permitted two private schools – Beaconhouse and the City school - to receive enhanced amount of fee from the students for the current month. A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq granted this permission after the schools assured to refund the increased amount in the next months.
Justice Farooq ordered for status quo in this matter till final adjudication and directed the government not to take adverse action against the schools management. The IHC bench also issued notices to Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) and ministry of capital administration and development division (CADD) seeking their reply and deferred further hearing till November 12.
On September 17, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took notice of the situation after widespread protests by the parents on increased amount of fee and on September 23, CADD had circulated a notification saying: “The private education institutions enhanced the fee without the permission of the authority, which is not permissible under the law. All the private educational institutions are directed not to increase any fee/charges / funds in 2015. Any increase in fee/ fund / charges, already charged by the institutions shall be refunded/adjusted in the subsequent challans/bills.”
The notification further says, “In case of default, the authority would be constrained to act in pursuance of section 16 of PEIRA Act 2013, against the non-observing institutions.”
The two abovementioned schools through Shahid Hamid and Asma Jehangir advocates had challenged the notification before the IHC.
After preliminary arguments, the IHC sought assurance from the schools that they would refund increased amount of fee. However they can receive amount for the current month and will return or adjust in the next month fee.
The administrations of schools contended before the court that for the current month the administrations of both the school systems had already issued the challan with the increased fee. The counsels for the schools sought from the court to restrain government from taking any adverse action against the schools on the pretext of charging enhanced fee.
They argued that the impugned notification was issued without meaningful consultation with stakeholders those were owners/ management of private schools while publicizing meetings with a handful of agitating parents.
Therefore, they prayed to the court to declare the notification illegal, null & void and schools may be allowed to receive fees on increased rate for the academic year 2015.
However, the court did not either suspend or annul the notification but issued notices to the PIERA and the CADD and put off the proceedings in this matter.