The Delhi high court on Friday said the 2009 decision of the government allowing private schools to hike fees by 25% led to some schools arbitrarily increasing the fee.
Slamming the Delhi government, the court recommended setting up of a body to regulate fees, on the lines of those already existing for power and telecom.
The court has now taken upon itself the task of fixing fees by setting up a three-member committee that will look into the validity of the fee hike by each school. The revised fee, the court said, would continue as an “interim measure”.The bench of justice AK Sikri and justice Siddharth Mridul said the government could not issue a blanket notification permitting all private schools to hike tuition fees and that this "led to arbitrariness".
It also said the financial health of each school should have been the criterion to decide the fee hike.
The court said that if the panel found that the fee hike by a school was more than required, the excess amount would be refunded along with a 9% interest.
At the same time, if a school succeeds in making out a case for higher increase, they will be allowed to raise the amount from students. “The outcome of such an exercise could result in higher hike in fee or a reduction,” the judges said.
The bench also slammed the directorate of education for “abdication of its role”. The court was delivering verdict on a petition filed by advocate Ashok Agarwal on behalf of parents against the hike, and also by schools demanding a further increase of fees. Schools had asked for a hike in 2009 to handle the increased financial demand following a revision of teachers’ salaries after the sixth pay commission.