The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed an education department circular that made it mandatory for the city’s private schools to seek the approval of parent-teacher associations (PTA) before raising fees.
Faced with mounting protests from parents and their likely fallout ahead of the parliamentary elections, the Delhi Government had on April 16 issued a public notice giving parents a major say before schools took a decision in this regard.
Schools were even required to present their functional expenditure before PTAs to justify the hike.
“Till the next date of hearing, May 25, we impose a stay on the rule calling for a PTA meeting to seek approval for a fee hike,” justices AK Sikri and Suresh Kait said.
The schools appealed that the latest circular ran contrary to an earlier one, which had mandated that the schools only needed to approach a grievance redressal committee comprising members from Directorate of Education and a nominated chartered accountant.
Appearing for Unaided Private Schools Association, lawyer Rakesh Khanna argued before the court that under the Delhi Education Act, the management committee of a school was the supreme authority to decide on revising a fee structure within the permitted cap. “Giving parents the final say is quite unheard of,” he said.
According to the order passed by the Director of Education on February 2, schools charging from Rs 501 to Rs 1,000 can hike their fee by Rs 200. Those charging between Rs 1,001 and Rs 1,500 per month can make an increase of Rs 300 while those charging between Rs 1,501 and Rs 2,000 can make a hike of Rs 400. Lastly, schools charging above Rs 2,000 per month may increase fee by Rs 500.
However, as per the April 16 circular, schools that had increased fees without a general body meeting of the PTA, would have to roll back the hike.