SC directs HEC to close illegal university campuses

SC directs HEC to close illegal university campuses

The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan has ordered the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to close down illegal campuses set up by private universities across the country.

According to the details, a petition was heard in the SC against non-issuance of degrees from illegal campuses of universities by a three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

Preston and Al Khair University had set up illegal campuses in Lahore and Karachi, whose students had approached the court against the HEC for not issuing degrees through illegal campuses.

During the hearing, lawyer Ali Zafar said that the court had directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take action against private universities, on which Justice Umar Ata Bandial said that the HEC has powers, NAB does not need to investigate the matter. Furthermore, he remarked that the apex court will issue an order to the Centre to amend the laws if the HEC is a weak state institution.

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Lawyer Ali Zafar informed the SC that the students had approached Lahore High Court (LHC) for their degrees but the court had declared the campuses of private universities ‘illegal’. Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that the Lahore High Court gave its verdict on the basis of facts.

The apex court said the question before the court was whether private universities could set up sub-campuses outside their boundaries or not. The HEC had clarified that universities were not allowed to set up campuses outside their boundaries. The apex court further said that the HEC had on several occasions issued alerts to private universities for setting up illegal campuses.

Moreover, the top court said that HEC was of the view that the cooperation of the federal and provincial governments was essential in eradicating illegal activities. The court ruled that the federal and provincial governments did not co-operate with the Higher Education Commission.

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At the same time, the court directed HEC to provide special degrees to the students who have passed out from illegal campuses. The top court ruled that there would be no compromise on the provision of higher education for the younger generation, ensuring uniform implementation of HEC’s policies across the country.

The federal and provincial governments have been ordered by the apex court to assist the Higher Education Commission in maintaining qualitative and standard education.

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