KARACHI  -  The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered private schools to implement the fees structure given by the provincial government and sought the Supreme Court order about the cut in schools fees by Rs20 percent.

A larger bench of the SHC headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi was hearing a petition filed by parents of students seeking implementation on the court’s previous order on the fee structure.

The petitioners had also moved a contempt of court application against the private school managements over non-compliance with the apex court orders. Representing a private school, a lawyer submitted a revised fee challan and stated that his client had started implementation on the court orders. He said that tuition fee of all classes was revised.

Replying to a court query, the lawyer for the private school expressed his ignorance about the charges other than tuition fee.  He pleaded to the court to grant further time to submit comments in this regard.

The lawyers for Beacon House School and City School submitted revised fee challans, and stated that the data of all campuses of these schools had been included in the record.

Parents of various schools informed the bench that private schools had been charging them Rs 27,000 to 34,000 tuition fees for each class.

On this, the private school’s lawyer denied the claim and told the court that these were only rumours. The petitioners also stated that private schools failed to submit proper information and misled the court. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar inquired about implementation on the court orders on the fee structure. The counsels replied that proper documents were submitted to the court in this regard.

The bench remarked that private schools did not intend to comply with the court orders. Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbas remarked that private institutions not implementing the court orders on the fee structure must be closed.

The court directed the authorities to produce the Supreme Court’s orders on the fee structure.

On December 13, the Supreme Court had ordered private schools to cut their fees by Rs20 percent and return the 50 percent of the amount they received during the summer vacation. The bench was informed that the students who were not able to pay tuition and examination fees were not allowed to sit exams. The court directed the school managements to allow them to sit the exams.

The court also restrained the school management from harassing the students and directed the parents to pay tuition fees as per fee structure allocated according to law.

A private school’s lawyer also informed the court that FIA officials had record of schools into their custody and pleaded the court to pass an order to return the documents.

The court adjourned hearing till January 14.

In its prior order, the court had restrained the private schools from charging fees beyond five per cent fixed in the fee structure by the provincial education department.

The SHC had ordered private schools to restore the fee structure in place on September 20, 2017 and reimburse any fees they may have charged from parents in excess of it.

The court had also ordered owners of private schools to issue fee challans or adjustment challans on the basis of the 2017 fees structure.