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SC orders private school fee case to be wrapped up by tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday continued hearing the case against undue fee charges taken by private schools in Pakistan, ARY News reported. 

Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa made stern remarks during the case saying if private schools were vying to get more than five percent increase in school fees then they should surrender their licenses.

“If your ‘business’ is suffering then you should look towards other opportunities, he continued”, remarked the CJP.

Admonishing the private school owners further, he remarked: “Everyone is aware of what happens in these schools, extra money is hoarded through uniforms and book sales, they are earning billions in revenues and the only losses incurred to them after fee regulation will be to the profits they reap”.

“Everyone must complete their arguments, this case will be wrapped up tomorrow,” he said emphatically.

The private schools fee case is being heard by a three-member bench under the patronage of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Read More: Private schools’ lawyer urges SC to allow fee hike in view of rising inflation

Parents argued in the court that private school owners were extremely powerful and were negating all orders issued by the top court.

“Private school owners have expressed concerns over increased expenditures and are hence demanding the increment in school fees”, said Justice Ejaz Ul Ehsan.

“The court is only liable of translating and deciphering what is written in the law, we don’t give verdicts based on an individual’s whims, rather we want a holistic understanding of this problem”, he said.

“If parents are against music concerts, bonfires and celebration of valentine’s day then they must opt to pull their kids from the educational institute”, he added.

CJ Khosa in a dialogue with the lawyer representing private schools asked whether the kids were charged for Halloween parties from the fee? “Private schools are celebrating something or the other each and every day, observed the chief justice.

‘Kids are seen taking cakes and milk to these get-togethers and most of the edibles are taken home by the teachers.’ This remark by the CJ made the courtroom burst out into a fit of laughter.

Read More: Private schools not allowed to charge parents for development works, remarks CJP

Basic human rights can’t be taken away, they can be regulated and ensuring education for everyone is one of the state’s primary responsibilities, private school regulation is also a task which needs to be undertaken by the government, the top judge added.

The private schools counsel argued that the void in Pakistan’s educational infrastructure has been filled by Private educational institutes, these institutes ensure a good standard of education and work diligently towards its provision.

Justice Faisal Arab remarked that, if private schools are facing insurmountable losses then that does not leverage a fee surge, if new admissions see a considerable drop even then you increase the student fees, he said.

The case was later adjourned till 12 p.m on Wednesday.

Rest of the parties would present their arguments through their legal counsels tomorrow.

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