LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Friday constituted Child Rights Commission and directed it to submit a report at the next hearing on a petition challenging violence against special children.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah took up the matter who observed that he visited the special children’ school in GOR and noticed children’ problems  there.

Secretary of Special Education Khalid Mehmood appeared in the court and submitted that the action would be taken against those who commit violence on special children. He said that slapping children was already banned in the schools. He further said that there were 426 busses for pick and drop of the special children.   The CJ constituted the commission and directed the secretary to hold inquiry against those official who were involved in violence on the children.  The court also directed the secretary to submit report about the deployment of the police officers in the busses of the children.  The court adjourned further hearing until Jan 29.

Previously, the Chief Justice ordered the Punjab special education department to install Close Circuit Television Cameras in all schools and busses of special children. A  report submitted by the department said that 273 schools for dumb and deaf children were functioning in the province with 2500 teachers, 754 students and 508 buses for their pick and drop.  It said that the conductors and other staff related to buses were not properly trained.

9th classs students age limit case

The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday allowed Punjab Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education’s appeal against LHC’s decision wherein students below 12 years of age were allowed to sit class nine exam.

A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar heard the appeal at the SC Lahore Registry. The SC maintained powers of the board to fix the age limit for students to appear in the 9th class examination. Previously, the LHC had allowed the children below 12 to sit the exams of 9th class contrary to the board’s policy.

In the appeal, the counsel said the Punjab Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Act 1976 empowered the boards to fix minimum age limit for the students. He submitted that a committee of nine education boards earlier decided the minimum age limit for the class in question.

However, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar observed that boards’ powers would be decided if any student approached the court in future. The CJP observed that it appeared that the boards had monopoly over education. “The boards should deal with students as per their potential and should not impose age restriction on them for study,” said the CJP.

The boards’ counsel said that age limit is a worldwide policy and referred to a recent judgment of the Supreme Court wherein Balochistan Education Board’s authority was upheld. However, the bench observed that they were not willing to give authority to the education boards to ban students from appearing in exams on the basis of age.

“We don’t want to strike down this right at present,” the CJP observed by allowing the board’s appeal against the LHC’s decision. The children’ counsel said that students’ certificates and result cards had not been issued so far. On this, the bench directed the board to issue result cards and certificates to students who were granted relief under the impugned judgement of the high court.