Court Seeks Final Arguments In BISE Case On Policy Restricting Students Under 12 From Enrolling In Class 9
A Lahore High Court division bench has sought final arguments on several identical petitions challenging a policy of the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) that restricts students below 12 years to get them enrolled for ninth class.
During the hearing the Education Board’s counsel defended the policy saying it was written in the Calendar of the Board, Section 10 of Chapter 19 in sub-rules.
Dr Akhtar Hussain and other parents filed these petitions against the Education Board for denying their children registration for ninth class for being younger than the age prescribed under Rule 1(A) of Chapter 19 of the Board Calendar.
Representing one of the petitioners, Advocate Sheraz Zaka argued that there was no provision in the Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014 that imposed such condition. He said it was discriminatory that in order to appear in class nine exams a student had to be 12 years of age and the impugned policy was a violation of Article 25-A of the Constitution.
He argued that on one hand the Punjab government promoted education for everyone and on the other imposed restriction of age, which is harsh.
Another counsel argued that the impugned rule/policy was misconceived as based on a misconception of the statutory status of the Punjab Education Code (PEC) and a misreading of provisions of Punjab Free and Compulsory Education Act 2014.
He stated there was no logic or public good in restraining children from continuing their education and for punishing them for the reason of being underage by a few months.
The bench comprising of Justice Abid Aziz Sheikh and Justice Shahid Karim adjourned hearing till the second week of September for final arguments.
Previously published in DAWN and republished here with permission.