UT fails to comply with HC directions on school fee hike

  • Monica Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 10, 2015 16:32 IST

Even after getting directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court in April 2013 to come up with a mechanism within six months on yearly fee hike by private schools, the UT administration has failed to act in this direction till date. Also, the high-powered committee constituted in April 2013 under the chairmanship of justice RS Mongia (retd) to look into the fee hike issue has failed to submit its report.

The committee though had started the work assigned to it and taken possession of the balance sheets of the city schools in the last two years, the UT administration failed to come up with any mechanism to fix the yearly fee hike.

Sources in the administration claim that the education department and other functionaries all these years kept waiting for the report from the committee. Finance secretary Saravjit Singh said, "We have not worked on the fee-hike issue concerning the private schools in the city."

Taking up the petition filed by a non-government organisation, Anti Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell, highlighting the exorbitant and arbitrary fee hike by private schools in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, the high court had directed to form separate committees for Punjab, Haryana and UT to look into the matter. The committees were constituted in April 2013.

The committee formed in UT was not time bound to submit its report. The panel is expected to submit the report by the beginning of next year. The reason for the delay in submitting the report is being cited as the ill-health of panel head justice RS Mongia (retd), who is undergoing treatment at a hospital.

As per the high court order, the committee was supposed to look into the accounts of the schools and find out how reasonable it was to increase the fee by the schools. The committee was also to ensure that the fee collected by the schools was not being transferred to the accounts of society or the trust which ran the schools.

The committee

The three-member committee constituted under chairmanship of justice RS Mongia (retd), also comprised Vipul Kansal (chartered accountant) and Prithpal Kaur, a retired official of the UT education department. Formed in April 2013, the committee was not given a time frame to submit its report and it is expected to table the same by early next year. The report will be submitted to the Punjab and Haryana high court. The panel had taken in its possession the financial records of about 70 private aided and unaided schools. The scope of the work undertaken by the committee was to be restricted to the academic year 2012-13. For the academic year 2013-14, the schools were free to fix the fee structure, but would need to justify the same by producing necessary material before the committee.

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