Supreme court verdict : HEC shall continue
HEC case: VCs, varsities happy over
Islamabad, April 13: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the Higher Education Commission
(HEC) shall continue discharging its functions and duties as it had been
doing in the past unless and until a fresh legislation was promulgated.
A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice
Ghulam Rabbani also held that the notification of March 31, 2011 shall
have no effect on the functioning of the HEC in view of the provisions
of the Ordinance 2002 and in case of any conflict and inconsistency
between the notification and the provisions of the ordinance, the
ordinance shall prevail.
Anwar Mansoor Khan, Arshad Ali Chaudhry,
AOR, with Prof Attaur Rehman, former minister, Senator Azam Khan Swati
and Marvi Memon, MNA, appeared for the petitioners, while Maulvi Anwarul
Haq, the Attorney General for Pakistan, appeared on court notice. Chief
Justice Iftikhar said the HEC had maintained its standards, and huge
problems would be created, if the commission was devolved.
response to a notice issued earlier, the learned attorney general
appeared and submitted that the status of the Higher Education
Commission as it had been assigned to it under the Higher Education
Commission Ordinance, 2002, with its functions covered by the
constitutional provisions namely entries at Srl.Nos.16, and 17 of the
Part-I and Srl.7, 11 and 12 of Part-II of the Federal Legislative List,
shall remain intact unless the same was changed by promulgation of some
legislation in this behalf. He submitted that the HEC shall continue
discharging its functions and duties as it had been doing in the past
unless and until a fresh legislation was promulgated. He further stated
that the notification of March 31, 2011 shall have no effect on the
functioning of the HEC in view of the provisions of the Ordinance, 2002
and in case of any conflict/inconsistency between the notification and
the provisions of the ordinance, the rdinance shall prevail.
The court observed that CMAs for the interim relief stand disposed of after hearing the learned attorney general for Pakistan.
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Major parties, leaders, oppose HEC's death
Islamabad: In an interesting scenario, three major political parties who have signed the
18th Amendment and formed a major chunk of the National Assembly, have
opposed the controversial devolution of Higher Education Commission
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), PML-Q and Muttahida
Qaumi Movement (MQM) have openly announced their stance of retaining
the HEC with the centre and even the PML-Q Senator and leader of
opposition in the upper house Wasim Sajjad has said, on floor of the
house, that it was decided to keep the HEC with the centre while passing
the 18th Amendment.
PML-Q's fourteen parliamentarians have also
signed a resolution initiated by Marvi Mammon against the HEC
controversial devolution to the provinces, and have submitted it in the
Moreover, PML-N's Information Secretary Ahsan
Iqbal, during a press conference, said that the 18th Amendment never
meant to dissolve the HEC. "The dissolution of the HEC will cause
irreparable loss to higher education and research programmes in the
country," Ahsan Iqbal held. While MQM chief Altaf Hussain has also
strongly urged upon Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to take back the
decision to abolish the HEC as it will adversely affect the system of
higher education in the country. Altaf said the HEC is a very important
institution and the hasty manner in which it is being dissolved is a
cause of serious concern. He said in other parts of the world there are
separate ministries for the promotion of higher education and here in
Pakistan instead of giving proper attention to the education sector we
are abolishing a highly functional institution in a ruthless manner.
two senior most members of the Parliamentary Committee on
Constitutional Reforms, having legal background; Senator SM Zafar and
Senator Wasim Sajjad, both hailing from PML-Q have held that devolution
of the HEC would be unconstitutional because it was covered in Federal
Legislative Lists and not in the Concurrent List and the Implementation
Commission cannot add anything to the Concurrent List.
Sajjad has said that it was decided to keep the HEC with the centre
while passing the 18th Amendment. He emphasized that there must be an
institution in the centre which could work for better higher education
and the HEC was a regulator therefore it should be kept with the Centre.
SM Zafar who is in London these days had to issue a press release
saying that the HEC was covered in Federal Legislative List-II so its
devolution will be unconstitutional. Zafar is also the Chairman of
Senate Standing Committee on Education.
Well-placed sources said that Senator SM Zafar had conveyed to the chairman HEC when
18th Amendment was being passed that the HEC was covered in the Federal
Legislative List therefore it would not be devolved. With the recent
press release of SM Zafar, the apprehensions that the government wants
to teach the HEC a lesson for taking tough stand during verification of
degrees of parliamentarians has been further endorsed.
other hand PPP's Mian Raza Rabbani holds that the HEC should be devolved
because it was covered in the Concurrent List. He even lost his temper
in Senate the other day when he was questioned by opposition members
regarding the HEC's devolution. Awami National Party and Aftab Sherpao
also supported the HEC's devolution.
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Big protest against HEC devolution
Islamabad: Marching under a banner reading 'I Don't Have Fake Degree! Do You?' scores of
students and teachers from public and private sector universities here
on Tuesday raised a strong voice against devolution of the Higher
Education Commission (HEC), which according to them, would adversely
affect the country's future.
The protesting students and teachers
started their march from the National Press Club (NPC) and staged a
sit-in in front of the Parliament House. They raised slogans against the
decision of the Implementation Commission to devolve the HEC despite
the fact that all of its functions and authority are fully protected in
the 18th Amendment.
The protesters accused the government of
victimising the HEC for its strict stance over the degree verification
process and urged all political parties to come up with strong
resistance to save the HEC for the sake of higher education sector.
said that Pakistan needs at least 5,000 PhDs every year, whereas it is
having only 200, which is quite disproportionate to the demand. If
functions of the HEC were transferred to provinces, this figure would
further decline due to incapacity, financial difficulties and lack of
Speaking on the occasion, senior teachers and
student leaders said that it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who constituted the
University Grants Commission (UGC), which was later transformed into
HEC in 2002, so the PPP leaders should show some regard to the vision of
their founding chairman.
They said intellectuals and
intelligentsia have been asking since long to enforce an education
emergency in the country to uplift the future generations but instead of
taking steps in the right direction, the political leadership had
started running backwards.
They urged the government not to
disturb the prestigious institution and take measures to further improve
its performance with an aim to embark the country on the path of
progress and prosperity.
"The HEC was formed as an autonomous
federal regulatory institution with the prime minister of Pakistan as
its controlling authority. The composition of the HEC reflects a
balanced federal structure with representation from every province, as
well as the secretary education and secretary science and technology,
together with eminent academic and research experts," they said.
underlined the need that the HEC should remain as an important
directional body which should continue to play a major role in a sector
where Pakistan is severely deficient.
They hoped that the
government, political parties and intelligentsia would realise the
intensity of the situation and work together for the promotion of higher
education sector in the country.
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Petition against HEC's devolution put off
Lahore: Justice Sh Azmat Saeed of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday adjourned for an
indefinite period the hearing of a writ petition challenging the
devolution of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, ruling that
the issue was already pending in the Supreme Court. The petition was
filed by advocate Fahad Ahmed Siddiqi, who submitted that the HEC was
established to facilitate the institutions imparting higher education.
said the government had decided to devolve and dissolve the HEC to the
provinces and had started consultation with provincial governments in
this respect. He said the federal government was trying to save its
money by handing over the HEC to provinces. He said in this way, they
would save money in the upcoming budget and would ask the provinces to
run the HEC from the money they would get from the NFC Award.
prayed to the court to issue directions to the respondents to abstain
from dissolving the HEC. He also prayed to the court to summon the
chairman of the Implementation Commission and ask him the extraneous
considerations on the basis of which he formed an opinion that the HEC
did not fall within ambit and scope of the federal legislative list. The news
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