In a major respite to parents of school children, all schools in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have been restrained from enhancing fee and other charges by Punjab and Haryana high court, except with the prior permission of concerned education boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and Punjab School Education Board (PSEB).
A division bench comprising justice SK Mittal and justice TPS Mann also directed the two states as well as the UT to ensure that no books other than prescribed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) were forced to be used in schools affiliated to CBSE.
All the schools were directed to submit their profit and loss account statements for the previous five years to the boards to which they were affiliated and the boards would file status report before the court.
The bench also asked the education boards to apprise the court as to how they were ensuring that teachers were getting salaries as per laid down norms and the schools were following provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The directions came during hearing of three petitions filed by two NGOs -- Anti Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell and All India Crime Preventing Society -- and students of Sita Grammar School, Malerkotla.
The students, including Pranav Goyal, apprised the bench that Rs 1.08 crore was collected by the school as annual charges in 2010 while the amount was Rs 1.87 crore in 2011. It was further claimed that students were also forced to buy school uniform and stationary from school shops.
The bench was apprised that in the academic session 2009, the school charged fee, including admission fee of Rs 3,500 and annual charges of Rs 4,500, besides quarterly tuition fee, science fee, conveyance fee, building fund and computer fee amounting to Rs 5,000.
However, the school further enhanced the fee in subsequent years and for the academic year 2012-13, the fee had been hiked with annual charges of Rs 11,000, development fee of Rs 2,000 besides other fee charged on quarterly basis, the court was informed.
The case was adjourned for hearing to the last week of May.