KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the provincial government for not filing reply on plea seeking implementation of the Sindh Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act, 2013 in its true letter and spirit.

A division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, was hearing a joint petition of Fixit’s Mohammad Alamgir Khan and Justice Helpline’s patron Atam Parkash, who had taken the provincial authorities to the court for failing to provide standard education to the children.

In the last hearing, the court had directed the provincial authorities to inform it in detail about the total amount that it got for education department in last five years, as well as, how the same were spent. The court also sought the number of closed and opened schools in the province. “The comprehensive report should be submitted by January 31 or else the high ups of education department will be summoned,” the bench had ruled.

In Wednesday’s hearing, the provincial law general officer instead of furnishing the report requested the court for two-week time to file the report. Granting the request, the court put off hearing and directed the provincial government to ensure the submission of the report within two weeks.

Earlier, the civil rights campaigners petitioned the high court and submitted that the provincial assembly had passed the Sindh Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2013 in February 2013 with the aim to provide free of cost education to every child. “The clause 3.(1) of the above said Act clearly mentions that every child of the age of five to sixteen years regardless to sex and race shall have a fundamental right to free and compulsory education in a school, they added.

Advocate Nadeem Shaikh representing the petitioners said that in the Sindh province, there were not enough middle and high schools to meet the challenge of providing necessary education to the children, The said according to survey report, around 6,000 government schools were not functioning and on the other hand more than 40,000 ghost teachers were not working, due to the political influence.

They prayed to the court to order the constitution of JIT consisting of members from all investigation authorities including Pakistan Army, and direct them to investigate the matter impartially and honestly. The court was further requested to pass appropriate orders in the light of JIT findings for the betterment of education sector in the province.