HEC devolution challenged in SC

Bench headed by CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry to hear petition against devolution on April 11.

Express April 09, 2011

ISLAMABAD: A petition was filed against the devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday.

The petition, filed by Arshad Ali Chaudhry, prays that the devolution of the HEC to the provinces is unconstitutional and unlawful. The petitioner also requested the court to declare all actions taken for the devolution of HEC contrary to the constitution null and void.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will hear the petition on April 11.

The Higher Eduction Commission is being devolved to the provinces under the 18th amendment plan. The functions of the  HEC, except maintaining standards of higher education, are also being transferred to the provinces after the re-drafting its Ordinance, clauses which do not clash with the 18th amendment will remain untouched.

The HEC chairman Javaid Laghari had earlier termed the devolution of the body as unconstitutional.

Laghari said the HEC had constitutional protection and was an autonomous body. He stated that the commission was not part of the concurrent list, hence it could not be devolved.

He further claimed that HEC authorities were not taken into confidence before the announcement of devolution despite repeated requests to the constitutional amendment committee.


Sameer Haider | 10 years ago | Reply The hoopla has been constructed such that one tends to confuse higher education with the existence of the HEC. A reality check might help in removing this muddle. The HEC was born out of the sperm of a dictatorial regime and the womb of a fund-starved body, the University Grants Commission (UGC), working since 1974. Like all dictators in Pakistan, the last one too was obsessed with a centralised polity — a strong centre with little autonomy to the provinces. This has now been transformed into our collective psyche to undermine coalescing units as is evident from arguments currently given against the HEC’s devolution. The popular arguments against the HEC’s devolution range from a concern for higher education in Pakistan, freezing of foreign aid for higher education in the absence of the HEC, halting ongoing scholarships, lack of coordination among and check on universities, etc. One has to admit the successful propaganda machine against the devolution by HEC beneficiaries and planners. The HEC authorities used the rumor factory to propagate confusion about the issue. Rumors about the freezing of foreign aid for studying abroad were unleashed in the media, which was readily refuted by the biggest HEC donor, USAID that made clear that their $ 250 million support still stands. The most vicious step that the HEC arbitrarily took was halting ongoing scholarships, just to spread panic and confusion among the students. Sadly, it worked. Without even slight understanding of the issue or any inclination to probe the facts, general opinion tilted in the direction the vested interest group wanted it.
samar baloch | 10 years ago | Reply To the people who did it ! Can’t control it? Destroy it. No need to keep it hanging above your head. HEC has been one of the greatest pains for you. In fact you people did a great peice of work and right on time. But for these vultures, the other pain still remains, the Supreme Court. Please devolve (in fact desolve) it as soon as possible. There should be no central Supreme Court, it also gives continuous pain specially to you and our president. There should be only provincial supreme courts with limited powers within their respective provinces. The governement, including our president, should enjoy the fullest immunity that can’t be challenged anywhere For now celebrate the devolution of HEC, enjoy your degrees, best of luck!
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