ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Tuesday, transmitted a petition of students of various universities in Islamabad to the chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) for redressal of their grievances regarding accommodation.
A single bench of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb issued the directions while hearing a petition of university students who approached the court through advocate Umer Ijaz Gillani against the forced eviction of students from private hostels by the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
The IHC bench stated in its written order that the petitioners’ grievance is that universities in Islamabad are not giving due heed to the requirements of the guidelines as well as of the law inasmuch as students are being housed in residential and commercial areas which according to the CDA comes within the ambit of non-conforming use.
Justice Aurangzeb noted, “This Court cannot pass any order which would have the effect of diluting or nullifying the applicable Regulations of CDA. Be that as it may, I deem it appropriate to transmit the instant petition to the Chairman, H.E.C. which may afford an opportunity of a hearing to the petitioners with the aim to redress their grievances.”
Through the writ petition, the petitioners who are students at different universities in Islamabad, sought a direction to the HEC to proactively exercise its mandate under Section 10 of the HEC Ordinance, 2002 in order to secure the right of accommodation of the petitioners at Islamabad.
During the hearing, Gillani’s counsel for the petitioners drew the attention of the Court to paragraph 6.1.1 of the guidelines for the establishment of a new university or an institution of higher education and submitted that the said guidelines were made pursuant to the Education Sector Reforms: Strategic Plan 2001-2004 and the National Education Policy 1998-2010 and in recognition of the mandate in Section 10(1)(d) of the 2002 Ordinance which provides that for the evaluation, improvement, and promotion of the Higher Education, Research and Development, HEC may prescribe conditions under which institutions, including those that are not part of the State educational system, may be opened and operated.
He submitted that paragraph 6.1.1 of the said guidelines requires universities to submit details including hostel facilities for students He also submitted that Section 4 of the Federal Universities Ordinance, 2002, requires universities to provide for the residence of the students and to maintain halls of residence and to approve or license hostels and lodging.
He added that the Schedule to the said Ordinance list the universities to which it applies and the general criteria/norms for the establishment of new institute of higher education issued by the HEC also set out the desirable standards for hostels which are to accommodate universities’ students.
After issuing the directions, the IHC disposed of the matter.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023