CJP asks orders detailed report on private universities in Punjab and affiliate colleges
Asks Punjab government to revisit policy of awarding charters to private universities
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has taken suo moto notice of the mushrooming of private universities in Punjab and sub-par standards provided by them, calling for a detailed report on the facilities and standard at these institution of higher learning.
A three-member bench SC was conducting hearing into a petition regarding the non-issuance of degrees to students by an affiliate college of the University of South Asia Lahore.
The Supreme Court has already taken suo motu notice various issues prevalent in the private education service sector at school level, especially that of exorbitant fees.
A representative of the Higher Education Commission apprised the court during the hearing that the university in question had issued affiliation to several colleges without seeking prior permission from the authority. The HEC rep contended that an institution “should not only be awarding degrees, but also have proper teaching staff to educate” the students.
I will see who comes to seek bail
To this, the CJP said such institutions were defrauding people and had ruined the education system. “Since when are these universities operating and how much fees do they charge?” the chief justice asked. The bench observed that criminal cases must be filed against such institution for “opening campuses against the law”. “I will see who comes to seek bail,” the CJP remarked. To a court about why no action had been initiated, the HEC representatives said only the provincial higher education department was authorised to take action in this regard.
Later the bench appointed Advocate Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri and Advocate Uzair Bhandari as amicus curie in the matter and sought a report from them, besides directing the advocate general to submit a detailed report about private universities as well as their affiliated colleges across the province.
Moreover, the bench issued notices to all private universities and directed the HEC to also issue notices to them individually and seek their response.
Separately on Sunday, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked the Punjab government to revisit its policy of awarding charters to private universities in Punjab. The CJP was conducting a hearing in a suo motu case regarding the mushrooming of private universities in Punjab. The CJP said the chief minister and governor should form a special committee to accomplish the task of awarding charters.
In his remarks, Justice Saqib Nisar said, “We (the court) will have to find out what went wrong and what is still going wrong on in order to save the future of our generations.” He added that the new government should see that education was not turned into a “tool to mint money”.
The CJP formed separate committee consisting of legal expert Zafar Iqbal and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director Waqar Abbasi to conduct an inquiry into facilities being provided at private universities in Punjab.
The CJP directed the committee to analyse whether private universities had sufficient faculty and facilities and submit a report within a week.