ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered private schools across the country to cut their monthly fee by 20 per cent.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu case against fee hikes by private schools. The hearing was attended by private schools’ lawyer, deputy auditor general and the chairman of theFederal Board of Revenue (FBR).

According to the interim order issued by the apex court, all private schools charging above Rs5,000 in monthly fee will have to cut the fee by 20% and return or adjust half of the fee charged over the summer holidays within two months.

At the start of the hearing, CJP remarked that the court is not bound by the decisions made by the High Courts.

“The court will make a decision on its own on how much reduction is appropriate,” he added.

On September 17, the Supreme Court decided to club cases pertaining to private schools pending in high courts and the apex court.

According to the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution, all decisions pertaining to education fall under the domain of provincial governments, which are also responsible fo the curriculum and all other matters pertaining to schools.

Earlier this year, a full bench of the Sindh High Court had declared that increasing private schools tuition fee more than five per cent of the last fee schedule was illegal. The court had directed the schools to either refund the excess amount or adjust it in future fees within three months.