The Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed a petition filed by the Private Schools Association challenging a notification regarding a 20 percent cut in monthly tuition fees.
A single bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah dismissed the petition that assailed the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority’s (PEIRA) May 3 notification asking private schools of Islamabad to reduce fee by 20pc.
The chief justice ruled that this court cannot interfere with the policy decision announced via the impugned notification.
“The impugned policy decision is, therefore, not justiciable nor this Court is inclined to exercise its extraordinary discretionary jurisdiction under Article 199 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 to interfere therewith. The petition is, therefore, accordingly dismissed,” the seven-page verdict issued by the court read.
On May 3, the federal government notified a 20 per cent fee concession for Islamabad education institutes with effect from April 1.
Taking to Twitter, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood shared a notification regarding the fee cut and said: “In response to the demand for fee waiver during school closure, it has been decided to give 20% reduction in fee starting from April till the schools reopening. This is applicable to all schools in Islamabad charging over Rs 8000 per month fee.”
A notification of the authority issued on Wednesday stated that in continuation of its letter dated: 31-03-2020 regarding the closure of all educational Institutions up to May 31, 2020, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all private educational institutions- PEls (up to higher secondary or equivalent level) in Islamabad Capital Territory, the following SOPs are to be strictly adhered to (till May 31.2020).
All PEls must grant a concession of 20% in the monthly fee of students for the month of April and May 2020 (as a financial relief to the parents/guardians) due to nation-wide lockdown owing to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic.
Read more: Pakistan to shut schools as COVID-19 cases spike.
However, the said concession policy is not applicable to PEls charging monthly fee less than Rs. 5000. No PEI will collect the fee in advance except on a monthly basis. Therefore any fee challan (If already issued) in violation of this policy may be canceled and new challans for fee collection on a monthly basis are to be issued accordingly. Parents/guardians are also advised to pay the fee in a timely manner.
Services of all staff members, working in PEls (including teaching and non-teaching) are not to be terminated and staff salaries should be paid on a regular basis during the afore-stated period (till May 31. 2020).