The Patna high court has asked the Bihar government to respond to a petition seeking effective and transparent mechanism to ensure that no private schools, including minority institutions, enhance their fee in an arbitrary and unreasonable manner.
A division bench of chief justice Rajendra Menon and justice Sudhir Singh on Friday directed the government to submit a “detailed reply” within six weeks.
Petitioner Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of Kankerbagh in the state capital, had sought court’s intervention while arguing that “arbitrary fee hike” by schools caused hardships to parents.
Claiming that many private schools in Bihar had been increasing their fee every year in the absence of any effective and transparent mechanism, petitioner’s counsel Ram Sandesh Roy told the court that Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan governments had made rules and appointed regulatory authorities to control such arbitrary action.
Roy also pleaded for a court’s direction to ensure that parents, through their respective wards, are not harassed and exploited by private schools in the name of purchasing books, stationery, uniforms and other goods from the school or from places referred to by such schools at higher price.
Roy claimed that as CBSE and CISCE remained affiliating agencies and did not monitor private schools, such institutions had proliferated in Bihar. Many such schools collect high fee and miscellaneous charges from parents, he said and pleaded for a direction to the authorities concerned to ensure that private schools preferred NCERT books instead of those published by private companies.
He said such schools should be told to give lists of books along with names of publishers to students so that they could purchase books from a place of their choice at a competitive price.
Referring to CBSE rules, Roy claimed that as per affiliation bylaws, textbooks prescribed and published by NCERT/CBSE should be accepted as far as practicable or instruction be given to exercise extreme care while selecting books of private publishers.