CJP gets annoyed at private schools’ owners for reducing facilities

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that the apex court would put owners of private schools on trial after it emerged that some schools cut back on basic facilities in response to a Supreme Court verdict related to fee reduction.

In its December 13 ruling, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had ordered all private schools charging fees above Rs5,000 monthly to reduce fees by 20 percent.

Heading a three-member bench hearing related to the suo moto notice of price hikes by private schools, the chief justice expressed his anger at owners of private schools who had started cutting back on facilities following the fee reduction order of the apex court.

Justice Saqib Nisar said that it was disappointing how schools were showing reaction to the verdict by dismissing teachers and cutting back on basic facilities for students.

“The schools are now showing reaction over the fee cut verdict. They are ridiculing the court’s decision; we won’t tolerate such actions. We will put them on trial,” he said.

“The schools will shut down if they have to give back the fees that was charged,” said Private Schools Association president Zafran Elahi to the bench.

“It’s better if such schools are shut down which are unable to give back fees. You {Elahi} are trying to blackmail the court,” Justice Nisar shot back.

SBCA President Amanullah Kanzai informed the court that a few schools had adopted a questionable attitude towards students after the fee cut verdict.

“The schools may have cut down the fee but they have also put an end to the facilities to students,” the court was told.

The chief justice then ordered FIA to conduct a forensic investigation of the private schools that had not returned fees charged during the vacations.

An FBR representative informed the court that private schools were tax defaulters of Rs1.2 billion.
“Action is being taken against seven big private schools but a few of them have obtained stay orders,” he said.