18th Amendment implementation: Supreme Court comes to HEC’s rescue

Supreme Court says education body cannot be devolved, directs it to continue functioning.

Express April 13, 2011


The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled against the much-debated devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and directed the commission to continue functioning until further notice.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, also nullified the federal government’s previous notification issued on March 31 regarding the HEC’s devolution.

Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that the government was still contemplating the HEC’s devolution. He said the fresh legislation is being made and all stakeholders will be taken on board before the matter is decided.

The AGP also affirmed the court’s ruling that the HEC’s status is covered under the Higher Education Commission Ordinance 2002 and hence cannot be devolved under the 18th amendment. However, he pleaded with the court against issuing a stay order against the government’s notification as it will hinder the legislative processes.

Lauding the role of the HEC and its founding chief Dr Attaur Rehman, the chief justice stressed that education is the backbone of any country and the role of such commissions should not be undermined.

Senator Azam Khan Swati said that higher education should be prioritised as it is directly related to the country’s development. He said that the government’s decision to devolve the HEC was “against the spirit of the 18th amendment”.

Member of the National Assembly Marvi Memon said that the government’s lawyer had admitted before the court that the HEC “could not be touched without bringing in new legislation”.

Petitioners have argued that the subject of higher education falls under the federation’s jurisdiction and should not be affected after the 18th amendment’s promulgation. But the government had deemed the HEC’s devolution as necessary and issued a notification to this effect on March 31.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2011.


Ahsan Khan | 10 years ago | Reply “HEC is working for Pakistan’s progress. It should continue to work.” HEC is working to increase the number of Ph.D. degree holders. It is not for the people but it is simply to increase the reserve tank of elites. The people is out of HEC. “Supreme Court should not let the Government cut HEC into pieces.” In any democratic system of government., it is the people’s government which is sovereign Any Supreme Court or any Divine authority has no authority over the government as long as the government fulfils the conditions imposed by the constitution approved by the people. “SC has no option but to hold the decision of 170 million people and should reject the petition!” Thank you Saleem for your sensible statement. “Thanks God that, Supreme Court played its role and save the most important education promoting institution of Pakistan. Also saved the future of thousans who are studying abroad and who are approved to go abroad for higher education. Today is a very bright and hopeful day for the future of Pakistan.” Dear Dr. Faraz, HEC is not an institute of public education but it is simply a machine to churn out Ph.D. degrees. “Worldwide education is a provincial subject and HEC should stop functioning as federal for the future interest of Pakistan” It is simply so, because we are not like others. Pakistan is not “Republic” but it is “Islamic Republic”. This point can be further developed if you wish. [email protected] Pakistan was created, by the politicians in the name of Islam, for the people. Once it was established (14/08/1947), the people have been totally ignored by the rulers (from Jinnah to Zardari) in the system of government. Even for the most important event like the Constitution, they were never given the possibility to express their opinion through a popular referendum. An Islamic constitution was promulgated by a Secular leader;. though, the people of Pakistan have always rejected the Religious Parties in any election. The people of Pakistan are in the state (geographic) but out of State (Government). Generally, in Pakistan, the national programmes are for a small elite category and not for the benefit of the people. The defence for army generals, judiciary, for Supreme Court judges (and justices), industry for rich industrialist, agriculture of Feudal lords, education for top Ph.D. and the government for a few political families. Where are the PEOPLE in this State of Pakistan??
Ahmed | 10 years ago | Reply Yesterday I also wrote comments but these media people restrict the comments which sometimes contain facts. HEC should not be in the hands of Province otherwise it will become the property of Waderas / Sardars and this institution will loose its usefulness.
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