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SC Orders Private Schools To Restore Fee Structure To That Of 2017

ISLAMABAD: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday struck down exorbitant hike in private schools’ fee since 2017 in its verdict issued in connection with appeals filed by parents.

In a 65-page verdict, the apex court said that private schools had “excessively increased fees since 2017 in violation of the law”. The judgment said that fees should be restored to the amount of January 2017, adding that additional amount should be “struck down”.

The three-member bench, comprising of Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Faisal Arab, heard the appeals filed by parents of students as well as by the owners of private schools.

The verdict further read, “It will be deemed that there was no increase in fee since 2017 and fees were frozen at the rates prevailing in January 2017.”

According to the ruling, any attempt to increase school fees should be undertaken per law and any recalculation should be made “using the fee prevailing in 2017 as the base fee”.

The apex court also suggested that the process of revising the fee structure should be supervised by regulators and the amount charged should be “approved by them and shall be treated as the chargeable fee”.

The judgment also prohibited schools from making any attempts to recover the amounts that were reduced in accordance with the top court’s 2018 order, which directed for a 20 per cent decrease in the fees charged by private schools, especially the upscale ones.

“The regulators shall closely monitor the fee being charged by private schools to ensure strict compliance with the law and the rules/regulations. Complaint cells shall be set up to deal with complaints arising out of increase in fee in violation of the law/rules/regulations,” the verdict further read.

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