ISLAMABAD, Oct 15: A bench of the Supreme Court on Friday observed that education funds were not being spent for the purpose they were being collected.
Hearing a petition seeking enforcement of fundamental right to education, the bench, headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, directed the federal and provincial governments to submit details of funds with particular reference to ‘Iqra surcharge’ and other charges, and their utilisation.
The bench observed that it is the basic obligation of the State to provide education, and directed the deputy attorney general, finance secretary and provincial chief secretaries to submit the at the next date of hearing set for October 20.
Barrister Syed Ali Zafar representing National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) argued that the basic human right of education is of transcendental importance upon which the dignity of man depends and through which all other fundamental rights can be exercised. He stated that this is a case of great national importance which can change the future of the nation.
He submitted that while the 18th Amendment had abolished the Concurrent Legislative List by virtue of which the subject of education has been devolved to the provinces, yet in contrast a very important change has been made in the Constitution and a new fundamental right has been incorporated in Article 25A which provide that the state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by the law.
He also submitted that state includes the federation and all provinces meaning thereby that the Federation and provinces both have now a positive duty to provide education as a constitutional mandate.
Barrister Zafar submitted that education had been ignored by successive governments while it was only education that could give dignity to Pakistani citizens and empowered them to enforce their other fundamental rights.
He argued that for example the freedom of expression and such like civil and political rights is of no avail if the citizens are uneducated. Relying on 25A read with Article 9 (Right of Life) he asserted that now the courts could enforce this right if the federation was unwilling to act and provide education.
Regarding NCHD, Mr Zafar argued that it was established to promote basic education to children who have no access to education and for human development through a system which was spread throughout Pakistan and yet the state was not willing to continue with this and had decided to wind it up.Dawn.