CAPT AMARINDER GOVT CHALLENGES HIGH COURT ORDER ON PVT SCHOOL FEE PAYMENT

LPA SEEKS STAY ON JUNE 30 ORDER IN INTEREST OF JUSTICE & FAIR PLAY

Chandigarh, July 10-The Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government on Friday challenged the judgment of the High Court in the matter relating to payment of school fees for the lockdown period.

In a Letter Patents Appeal (LPA), filed under Order 41, Rule 5, read with Section 151 of CPC, the state government has sought a stay on the operation of the single judge order and judgement of June 30 “in the interest of justice and fair play.” In his ruling of June 30, a single judge of the High Court had given relief to the private schools to effectively collect all type of fee irrespective of whether or not it offered online education/classes.

Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had earlier expressed concern over private schools charging fee from students even when no online/offline classes were held in the wake of the Covid shutdown. The matter had come up for discussion at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting and Advocate General Atul Nanda had been asked to file the LPA in the High Court.

The LPA points out that the private schools, despite pleading financial hardship and incapacity to meet their expenditures/charges, did not place on record any evidence or material to prove the same. It was further noted that the High Court, in its ruling, had completely ignored the fact that the Government of Punjab had been constrained to issue orders directing private schools to charge only “tuition fee” (in respect of online education provided by them), in order to mitigate the emergent hardship faced by the parents due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The impugned order and judgement, according to the LPA, provides no mechanism to check and verify the “actual expenditure” while allowing the schools to charge their “actual expenditures.” Thus, there are practical difficulties in the enforceability and implementation of the impugned order and judgment, it said.

Pointing out that the order of the State Government was motivated not only by an emergent situation but was only of a temporary import and effect, the LPA further noted that the High Court of Punjab and Haryana had also completely ignored the fact that respective High Courts of other states, which had also issued similar if not identical orders, had not interfered in this regard. The LPA observed that “In a similar matter involving challenge to the identical order issued by the Government of Haryana, a Coordinate Bench has merely adjourned the case to September without granting any interim relief or otherwise to the private schools of Haryana as of now.”

In its LPA, the Punjab Government has also highlighted the un-even handed approach applied in passing of the order and judgment dated 30.06.2020, passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The appeal also raised issues of maintainability of the petitions preferred by the schools, with respect to the issue of separation of powers and the availability of Article 19 (1) (g) during such emergent times.

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PUNJAB TOURISM & CULTURAL AFFAIRS MINISTER CHANNI DIRECTS OFFICIALS COMPLETE ALL TOURISM PROJECTS ON TIME

Principal Secretary Husan Lal directs contractors to deploy more resources and labour to ensure completion of all works

Chandigarh, July 10: The Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Mr. Charnajit Singh Channi has directed the officials of the department to complete all projects on time. The Principal Secretary Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Punjab Mr. Hussan Lal, IAS, along with Director, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Mrs. Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar held a review meeting here today with all the concerned officials to meet the deadline regarding completion of all the projects.

During the meeting the officials inspected the work of development of Medal Gallery & Coin Museum being developed at Mohindra Kothi,Patiala which is being done at an approximate cost of Rs. 8.95 Crores under ADB assisted IDIPT Project, Conservation of Ranbaas, Quila Mubarak at Patiala at acost of Rs. 7.50 Crore and the work of Conservation of Moti Mahal at QuilaMubarak, Patiala with an estimated cost of Rs. 9.00 Crore.

Principal Secretary Mr. Husan Lal came to know during the meeting that the labour deployed at site by the contractors is very less. He directed them to deploy more resources and labour at site and ensure completion of all the works by September end this year.

During the meeting the beautification works of Sher Shah Suri Chowk on Sirhind- Morinda Road, Road near Gurudwara Sri Jyoti Swaroop, Samadhi of Shaheed Udham Singh ji and Development of Tourist Infrastructure at Jahaj Haweli of DiwanTodar Mal, Dera Mir Mian Tomb & Sadna Kasai Tomb were also reviewed. These works were being done by the Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) amounting to Rs. 14.20 Crore at Fatehgarh Sahib.

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Punjab Higher Education Minister Tript Bajwa writes to Union MHRD, Minister to re-examine revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and UGC

Chandigarh, July 10: The Punjab Higher Education Minister Mr. Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has written a letter to the Union Minister of Human Resources Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal requesting him to re-examine the entire issue regarding the revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and UGC. In which they have issued revised guidelines to Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Colleges to compulsorily conduct examinations for terminal classes/semesters of Under- Graduate and Post-Graduate courses by 30.09.2020.

Mr. Bajwa in his letter has said that considering the larger public interest of successfully containing the Covid-19 pandemic and allow the State Government to implement its decision by not making the MHRD/UGC revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020 mandatory on the State Government. He said that the MHRD/UGC guidelines dated 06-07-2020, making conduct of final term examination mandatory, has unnerved all the stakeholders. He said that conducting on-line examination for such large number of students, majority of whom reside in remote rural areas without access to Computers/Laptops and Internet, is not possible in the State.

He also said that conducting physical examination will involve huge logistical and operational challenges considering the fact that social distancing and other Covid-19 protocols cannot be maintained in case of hostel accommodation. At many places, the college/universities buildings/hostels have been taken over by the district administration for Covid-19 management purposes such as for Temporary Medical Camp, Covid Care Hospital, Quarantine Centre, etc. Since public transport is almost non-existent due to Covid-19 effect, mobility of students to their college will be severely affected.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Punjab is rising alarmingly and the worst is expected in the next couple of months. Under these circumstances, it is neither possible nor advisable to conduct final term examination for exit class students by adopting MHRD/UGC revised guidelines dated 06.07.2020. Such decision will have adverse psychological impact on students.

The Higher Education Minister said that with the current trend of rise in the COVID cases since April 2020 and the study done by the world leading Institution, we are not sure whether the situation will be conducive for the conduct of off-line examinations by September in a vast country like India. He further said that conducting the examinations for the terminal semester (s) / year by 30 September 2020 will not only delay the results of such examinations but also be detrimental to career and cause financial distress to many students who are dependent upon securing a job in order to sustain themselves and their families. ‘It will also prevent students from applying for further higher studies or entrance examinations, nationally and internationally, thereby demoralising them and their families’ added Bajwa.

The Minister also mentioned in his letter that the Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Puducherry have also taken decision not to conduct terminal exams. Even IIT Mumbai, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Roorkee have also cancelled their final semester exams.

Mr. Bajwa also said that the UGC had earlier issued guidelines on 29.04.2020 wherein it had been clearly mentioned that the guidelines were advisory in nature and each University would chart out its own plan of action taking into consideration the issues pertaining to Covid-19 pandemic and also the guidelines/ directions issued by the appropriate Government authorities. The State Government, after extensive consultations considering the safety of students/faculties/staff of Universities and colleges, the problems Universities and colleges would face, in conducting examinations had decided on 03.07.2020 to cancel all pending UG and PG final term examinations and to promote students on the basis of performance in previous years/semesters. This has been done to ensure academic credibility, career opportunities, future prospects and simultaneously to safeguard principles of health, safety, fair and equal opportunity for students.

Above all the students, their parents and other stakeholders have overwhelmingly appreciated this decision of the State Government terming it as the most appropriate decision in the current Covid-19 situation Also to ensure confidence, satisfaction, competence, performance and credibility, willing students have been given the opportunity to improve grade by appearing for exams, which would be conducted when situation becomes conducive to conduct exams.

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Medical Education Minister Soni launches PNRC's website for online verification

Chandigarh, July 10:Punjab State Nursing Registration Council (PNRC) today launched website for online verification of documents, which was virtualy launched by Punjab Medical Education and Research Minister Mr. O.P. Soni.

Informing about the website Mr. Soni, Minister Medical Education & Research Punjab, virtually inaugurated the Online Portal for Foreign Verification for the Nurses who are willing to go abroad or already settled there. From now onwards, the applicant need not visit the office personally. This online portal at www.pnrconline.in will facilitate online application for Foreign Verification/ Good Standing Certificate so as to enable the applicants to apply through this website. So the manual documents shall not be required w.e.f. 10th July 2020. After online application submission, applicants need not send the application/documents through post or by hand. The applicant shall be informed through SMS/Website regarding Status of their application.

Mr. Soni said that PNRC is also going to start compulsory Speed Post of Foreign Verification Form of all the candidates individually. The Foreign Verification / Good Standing Certificate shall be sent through speed post only, so that the verification forms can be delivered in a safer, faster and more reliable way. The tracking number of Speed Post shall also be sent to the applicants through SMS / Website and it can also be tracked online by the applicants.

These facilities are being introduced to bring more transparency in the system as well as convenience of the applicants and speedy delivery of the documents.

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Punjab Government restricts entry of general public in Punjab Civil Secretariat-1 and 2 in view of Covid-19

Chandigarh, July 10-The Punjab Government has banned the entry of all visitor (general public) in Punjab Civil Secretariat-1 and 2 in view of the growing spread of covid-19.

Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the General Administration Department said that the Principal Secretary General Administration has signed the order in this regard and these orders have come into force with immediate effect. According to the spokesperson, in case of any difficulty in this regard, the Additional Secretary Administration can be contacted.

According to the spokesperson, instructions have also been given to hand over any urgent mail etc. to the staff posted at the reception counter. At the same time, all citizens and officials / employees are urged to co-operate with the government in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.