Chairman of fee-fixation panel assumes charge: Govt tells HC

Srinagar: Retired judge justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain has assumed charge as the chairman of a panel which would decide fee structure for private schools in the state.
Disclosing it before a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi, the education department through Additional Advocate General S A Naik said that Justice Imtiyaz’s appointment shall be for period of two years and would be counted from July 27, the day he assumed the charge.
As per the terms of his engagement, Justice Imtiyaz would get the pay as admissible to a sitting judge of the high court minus pension.
He will be entitled to TA, DA, medical allowance and sumptuary allowance as admissible to the sitting judge besides a car to be provided to him by state’s Motor Garages with 200 litres of petrol or actual consumption(whichever is less), free accommodation, telephone at office and residence with a limit of 1000 calls per month.
Naik also informed the bench that office for the panel has been identified and would be established before Monday. Regarding the staff, he said, the general administration department is being requested to provide the requisite workforce to the panel.
He also informed the court that education department on July 28 also accorded sanction to the nomination of Kaneez Fatima, representative of JK State Board of School Education, and Showkat Ahmad Peer, chartered accountant, as members of the panel.
On June 1, the division bench had directed the government to nominate within week’s time a former judge of the J&K high court as chairman of the aborted committee set up on 7 May 2013. Then Justice (retired) Bilal Nazki was appointed its chairman but he resigned and later moved to Bihar to head its State Human Rights Commission in March last year.
The panel remained in limbo before the court dismissed a petition filed by Unaided Private Schools’ Coordination Committee, which had challenged the formation of the fee-fixing panel in pursuance to the directions by the Supreme Court of India.
Meanwhile, the division bench made it clear to the private schools that they shall not charge fee for the month of September and October last year unless it was cleared by the panel. It said that the aggrieved schools can approach the panel with their grievance.
The state government has already issued a circular, asking all recognized private schools of Kashmir division not to charge tuition fee and bus fare from the students for two months.
The schools that collected the fees for these months have been asked to adjust it for the November and December last year or in the current session.
The schools have also been directed not to hike fee till it was fixed by the committee and collect the same as per August 2014. For any violation in compliance of the circular, the government has warned to de-recognize the institutions.