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School Fee Case: SC Reserves Judgment As Arguments Conclude

ISLAMABAD:  Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday reserved the judgment in a case pertaining to hike in the private school fees.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa while Justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Faisal Arab are the other members of the bench.

The counsel of private schools contended that 11 member bench of Indian Supreme Court announced the verdict the case similar to this one back in 2002 which said that the private schools can earn a proportional amount of profit.

Over which, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked that did the Indian government give any fees structure in the case? While Justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan said that in which context the Indian court heard the case and what regulations adopted we did not know and we could reach wrong conclusions over the basis of the Indian case adding that now basic questions arise how capping the school fees is unjustified.

The private schools’ counsel during the hearing while giving reference to the Black Law dictionary said that Punjab law did not talk of profit but cap a limit on revenue while Punjab law is totally different from Sindh one.

The CJ said that there is an age limit of 45 years to become president of Pakistan and asked why it is not 46 or 47? Adding that lawmakers have their own wisdom regarding setting a limit while it will also be the wisdom of lawmakers to cap a five per cent increase cap on the private school fees.

Justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan said that the private schools wanted to not capping school fees while schools also showed their expenditures more than what they spent to avoid paying tax.

The CJ said that saving tax amount is a crime while schools management lawyers gave bits of advice to save taxes while besides tuition fees schools also adopted other sources to earn money.

The CJ said that private schools wanted that they are granted free of any cap regarding the hike in school fees adding that the court will consider where to cap on schools fees.

Justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan asked what can the court instruct lawmakers? While he said that lawmakers have the authority to decide prices in the democratic societies.

The advocate of the private schools contended that capping the private schools for a five per cent increase in schools fees will bring the standard of education down adding that capping also affected the system of private school systems.

After completion of arguments, the court reserved the judgment while the court sending the cases of Peshawar, Islamabad, and Baluchistan to the respective high courts and ordered them to take action on it.