Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court yesterday deferred the hearing in the petitions of various private schools challenging the government’s decision to restrict fee increase in the educational institutions during the current academic year.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted the hearing of some 20 petitions filed by various private schools and deferred the proceedings till February 8 after the counsels of the petitioners concluded their arguments.

During the hearing, standing council Raja Ahsan Mehmood informed the court that parents and teachers would jointly determine the fee as per law.

Asma Jahangir Advocate and Shahid Hamid Advocate the counsels for the private schools contended before the court that the directives of Prime Minister against increase in school fees is unacceptable because the permission of government is not necessary to raise the fee structures of the private schools .

They argued that the private schools increase the fees keeping in view their expenditures and government should give them subsidy if it intended to lower the fee.

Earlier, The City School and Beaconhouse had filed petitions. The two schools, through their counsel Asma Jahangir and Shahid Hamid, respectively, had approached the court challenging the government’s September 23 notification, directing the institutions to withdraw raised tuition fees.

The government had issued directives to either refund or adjust the increased fee.

Advocate Asma Jahangir stated that the notification had prohibited City School from increasing fees without Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) permission and termed it as illegal and arbitrary.

Both counsels argued that the restrictions imposed were in violation of article 18.

They argued that the government had miserably failed to adhere to its constitutional obligation of providing free education to children, adding that the government was trying to transfer the burden of its failure on the shoulders of private educational institutes.