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Ensuring Autonomy of Higher Education Commission

Ensuring Autonomy of Higher Education Commission

W.P No 1925/2021 (IHC) – Ensuring the Autonomy of Higher Education Commission- Restoration of Tariq Banuri

The writ petition was filed by numerous members of the civil society before the Islamabad High Court which challenged the illegal and unconstitutional removal of Dr. Tariq Banuri as Chairperson of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, through arbitrary and illegal notifications issued under the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, and Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021. The abovementioned amendment Ordinances reduced the tenure of the Chairperson of Higher Education Commission from 4 years to 2 years with retrospective effect.

The petition was reserved for Judgement on 29.9.2021, however, while the judgment was reserved, the Parliament enacted Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Act, 2021, and Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Act, 2021. Thus, making the abovementioned Ordinances permanent Legislation. Our team filed an amended petition to incorporate the abovementioned amendment Acts with amended grounds and prayer. The Court heard arguments on the amended petition on 18.1.2022 and passed a short Order the same day. Through the short Order, the Islamabad High Court restored Dr. Tariq Banuri as the Chairperson of the Higher Education Commission, and declared the notifications issued under the amendment Ordinances as without lawful authority.

The Respondent (Federation of Pakistan) has challenged the decision of the Islamabad High Court through an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, with an application for suspension of the Order of the Islamabad High Court. The Supreme Court of Pakistan was pleased to admit the appeal for hearing, however refused to suspend the effect of the abovementioned Order of the Islamabad High Court. The appeal to the Supreme Court is currently pending adjudication.

The following documents are available for online viewing:

1.Amended petition
2.Notification Dated 5-4-2021
3.Notification Dated 26-3-2021
4.Order