Supreme Court nullifies increase in private schools' fee charged after Jan 2017
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court has nullified the increase in private schools' fee since 2017 in its verdict on appeals related to exorbitant hikes by private institutions.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Faisal Arab issued a verdict on Friday and said that private schools had excessively increased fee since 2017 'in violation of the law' and that the charges should be restored to what they were in January 2017 and the additional amount be "struck down".
In its 80-page verdict, the court observed that it will be deemed that 'there was no increase in fee since 2017' and fees were frozen at the rates prevailing in January 2017.
The apex court ruled that any hike in school fees must be in accordance with the laws and that any recalculation be made using the fee prevailing in 2017 as the base fee.
The apex court said that the recalculation method must be supervised by regulators and the amount charged must be approved by them [and] shall be treated as the chargeable fee.
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The verdict also barred schools to recover 'under any circumstances' the amounts that were reduced in accordance with the Supreme Court's 2018 ruling; a 20 per cent reduction in the fees charged by upscale private schools was ordered when Mian Saqib Nisar was the chief justice.
"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 read.
Any excess fee found to have been charged shall be adjusted in the future fee, the apex court stated.
The appeals had been filed by parents of students as well as private schools.
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