SHC seeks report on closed schools across province

Jamal Khurshid
Sunday, Apr 24, 2022

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the provincial secretary for school education to file a detailed report with regard to closed schools in the province, including details of those schools which had been opened and their staff posted.

The court also directed the education department to file comments on what efforts were being taken by the boards concerned to encourage the children to get education in the schools.

The direction came on identical petitions filed by rights activists and organisations seeking the implementation of the Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2013.

The petitioners had submitted that various provisions of the 2013 Act required immediate attention of the provincial government for the smooth implementation of the law in letter and spirit.

Their counsel said the government was not providing sufficient funds to the public schools for quality education and better infrastructure. He requested the high court to order a report from the education department about the allocation of funds for the implementation of the law.

A division, bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, inquired the school education secretary about the status of closed schools and those which had been opened and whose staff had been posted.

The secretary undertook to file detailed comments with regard to closed schools in the province, including those which had been opened and their staff appointed.

The high court was informed by the secretary last year that around 6,866 government schools were closed due to the unavailability of teachers in the province and around 7974 schools were non-viable. The secretary had informed the court that posts of 32,510 primary school teachers and 14, 039 junior elementary school teachers were vacant in different districts of the province.

He mentioned in the comments that the Sindh government was providing free education to 4.5 million children and the schoolchildren between five and 16 years studying in public schools were also being provided free textbooks and their examination fees had been waived.

He submitted that the provincial government was taking several steps for enrolling the out-of-school children through different education projects with the collaboration with Unicef, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other entities.

The school education secretary had earlier informed the SHC that the education department had completed the framework for implementing the law in letter and spirit. He said various schemes were in progress to improve the infrastructure of the public schools and funds had recently been allocated for the purchase of furniture.

Bail confirmed

The SHC confirmed the pre-arrest bail of a man who was charged with injuring his wife. The applicant, Abrar Ahmed, had filed for pre-arrest bail in a case registered with the Zaman Town police. He was booked by the police after his wife alleged that he had injured her during a domestic dispute.

According to the prosecution, the complainant, Ana, stated in the FIR that the applicant had stabbed her with a knife and tried to kill her on May 25, 2021.

A counsel for the applicant submitted that his client was falsely implicated in the case by the complainant as she wanted to take revenge from him because he had divorced her. He submitted that there were two eyewitnesses of the alleged incident and both of them had stated that the injury of the complainant was self-inflicted.

The lawyer submitted that in view of the contrary versions of the complainant and eyewitnesses, the allegation against the applicant had become doubtful which required further inquiry and as such he was entitled to the concession of bail.

A counsel for the complainant opposed the bail application, submitting that Ahmed had been specifically nominated in the subject FIR with the specific role of attacking and injuring the complainant with a knife with the intention of killing her and the offence committed by the applicant is non-bailable and fell within the prohibitory clause of the section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

A single bench of the high court comprising Justice Nadeem Akhtar after hearing the arguments of the counsel observed that the knife from which the injury was allegedly caused was never recovered either from the applicant or from the scene of the alleged crime. The high court observed that there were two eyewitnesses of the incident, a neighbour of the parties and a minor daughter of the complainant.

The statement of the said neighbour was recorded under the section161 of the CrPC, wherein he had stated that the injury was inflicted by the complainant herself while the minor daughter of the complainant had disclosed to the police that her mother had stabbed herself in the abdomen with a knife.

The SHC observed that both the eyewitnesses had supported the version of the applicant that the injury was self-inflicted by the complainant. The bench observed that in the light of the eyewitnesses’ account, the case needed further inquiry and confirmed the pre-arrest bail of the applicant.