The state has failed to perform its constitutional responsibility of dispensing free quality education to Pakistani children, Supreme Court Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said on Monday.

While conducting hearing into various cases related to the increase of fees by private education institutions, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Khosa commented that it was the prime responsibility of state to provide free education to all. However, the state failed in performing its duties and the void created was filled by others administering the education sector. During the last hearing, the chief justice had ordered the federal as well as the provincial governments to provide a justification as to how they were executing their obligation under Article 25-A of the Constitution. Article 25-A deals with the right to education and entitles free and compulsory education to children aged between five and 16 in a manner determined by the law of the state.

While representing the parents, Senior Counsel Faisal Siddiqui argued that numerous court verdicts had emphasised on the right to free and quality education for all, adding that private schools had no right to increase fees under the garb of development.

During the hearing, Justice Faisal Arab said private institutes should seek prior permission before setting up the fee structure, which was revisable after a span of three years. Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said the increase in the fee could only be granted after getting prior approval by relevant authorities, highlighting that there was no prohibition on increasing other charges.

The chief justice remarked that parents sent their children to private education institutes because the state had failed in providing free and quality education to children. He commented that the regulatory authority failed in regulating the private education institutes, adding the courts cannot direct “one airline to receive an equivalent amount of fare from a successful airliner.”

 

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