LHC directed govet to notify Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act

LAHORE:April 6: The Lahore High Court on Thursday struck down a complete bar on private schools to increase fee, terming it unreasonable and disproportionate restrictions on private schools’ fundamental rights. A three-judge full bench, led by Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh, also directed the government to frame uniform regulatory regime through rules under Section 13 of the Ordinance of 1984, within 90 days to determine the increase claimed by schools in fee by also considering the actual cost and expenses incurred and profits made by private educational institutions. The court also directed the provincial government to notify “The Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2014” to ensure enforcement of fundamental right of education under Article 25-A of the Constitution and also responsibility of private schools for free education. The court ruled that mechanism provided to determine reasonable fee of private educational institutions, through Section 7-A of the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) Ordinance, 1984 was valid legislation but a complete bar on increase of fee for academic year 2015-2016 at the rate higher than the fee charged for academic year 2014-2015 and the maximum limit in increase of annual fee at the rate of five per cent and eight per cent under the amended act in 2016 and 2017 respectively for being unreasonable and disproportionate restrictions on private schools’ fundamental rights. The court passed the order on petitions moved by private schools challenging the vires of certain sub-clauses of the Section 7-A of the Punjab Private Educational Institutions (Promotion and Regulation) Ordinance, 1984 inserted during 2015. Justice Shams Mahmood Mirza and Justice Shahid Karim were the other members of the bench. The bench said that for any increase already made in fee for academic year 2015-2016 at a rate higher than the fee charged for the class during academic year 2014-2015 or beyond five per cent for next academic year i.e. 2016-2017 and increase more than eight per cent for academic year 2017-2018, the relevant private schools shall submit supportive material justifying the increases, with the authority concerned within 30 days. In case, no such material was submitted within the stipulated time or the increases were otherwise not found justified by the authority, the amount received beyond limit shall either immediately be refunded to the students/parents or adjusted in the next fee bill of the students. It directed the government to ensure that parents were not compelled to purchase textbooks, uniform or other material from a particular vendor or provider and schools did not charge any amount other than tuition fee, admission fee or prescribed security from the parents. The bench directed that a periodic inspection of private schools be carried out to check the provision of facilities to students as undertaken by private schools at the time of registration and thereafter from time to time. It said an effective parents-students complaint handling procedure be established by using modern Information Technology. It further ruled that complete data of teachers and supporting staff hired by private schools should be obtained by the registering authority showing educational qualifications/experience and track record of teachers and supporting staff on annual basis. PIA ordered to implement female quota: The Lahore High Court on Thursday ordered Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to implement 10 percent female quota in recruitment of pilots. Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan issued the order while hearing a petition moved by Komal Zafar, a woman who had moved the petition for recruitment of female pilots on 10 per cent quota. The PIA recruitment manager also appeared before the court along with the report that they had been working on implementation of 10 percent quota with the national airline. The officer said that becoming a pilot was a job of a sensitive nature, for which, the merit could not be compromised. Candidates with disabilities could not be recruited as a pilot with the PIA, he said. The reply irked Justice Khan who remarked that half population of the country was consisted on females, and whether they all should be considered handicapped. “Women are flying warplanes after their recruitment with the air force,” the judge observed. The judge allowed the petition with directives to the PIA to implement 10 per cent female quota in recruitment of pilots. On March 16, the same court had stayed till further orders the recruitment process of pilots with the PIA and had sought replies from the respondents. The Ministry of Defence, PIA chairman, Recruitment and Placement Section Organisational Development and Cabinet Secretariat Establishment Division were made the respondents in the petition. The petitioner said that she applied for the posts of cadet pilots with the airline and qualified the test but she could not receive call letters while many others had received the letters. She said there was a policy of 10 percent quota for women in recruitment with the national carrier but the policy was not being implemented. She said the women were ignored in recruitment. She prayed to the court to direct the respondents to implement 10 percent quota across the board in federal government services and order them to recruit her as cadet pilot for being a qualified candidate.The news.

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