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HC directs FFC to decide the matter expeditiously

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Hike in the transportation fee by schools

Srinagar: On the issue of hike in the transportation fee, the High Court today directed the Fee Fixation Committee (FFC) to decide the matter expeditiously and also hear the Private Schools Association.

The direction ensued a petition by the private schools challenging a March 09 order by the FFC’s and the Directorate of School Education that allowed a hike of 12 percent in the transportation fees as existed in 2019.

Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Mohan Lal disposed of the petition with a direction to the Committee to “consider the matter finally and take final decision thereon most expeditiously after affording an opportunity of being heard to the Petitioner-Association”.

The Association through their counsel Syed Musaib sought a direction in the name of the FFC to determine the ‘Transport Charges’ as per actual rates providing them a chance to be heard.

The FFC order on the 12 percent hike was challenged primarily on the ground “the Committee, while hiking the ‘Transport Charges’ by a meager 12%, none of the member Schools of the Petitioner-Association were heard”.

The petitioner contended that there was no credible material before the Committee to arrive at the conclusion that only 12% hike needs to be allowed in the ‘Transport Charges’.

“Had the petitioner-Association been granted an opportunity, sufficient material would have been placed before the Committee so as to adequately increase the hike in the ‘Transport Charges’ on the basis of all relevant factors like the National Index, increase in fuel charges, increase in Insurance, Tax, etcetera, etcetera”, the petitioner’s lawyer Musaib said.

The petition came up for consideration before the Court on 25th of this March. The then counsel of the petitioner Z A Shah submitted that the Association shall feel satisfied if the Committee takes final decision after granting them an opportunity to be heard.

The Court afterward asked the additional advocate general (AAG) Asifa Padroo to get instructions in the matter on the next date.

Today when the matter came up for consideration, Padroo informed the Court that the administrative officer of the Committee has taken up the matter with the Additional Secretary School Education Department. The Department she said has been conveyed about the FFC order being temporary in nature.

The AAG further submitted that the Committee will pass the final order in the matter after hearing all the stakeholders, including the Petitioner-Association.

The court accordingly disposed of this petition with a direction to FFC to consider the matter most expeditiously. An opportunity of being heard should be granted to the petitioner Association, it directed.

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