St Columba's School is on a sticky wicket. The Delhi Education Directorate has withdrawn its recognition -- with effect from April next year -- for allegedly siphoning off funds to the parent society running the school.
Unless the school authorities approach the directorate and offer to rectify the mistake or appeal to the Delhi lieutenant-governor, there is little chance that the de-recognition order will be revoked.
The directorate claimed that over the past three years, the school diverted around Rs 1.83 crore raised as fee to its parent society. On May 24, it served a notice on the school, making known the order.
Officials said time till next year was given to the school to ensure that students did not suffer. Besides, "the school was given an opportunity to rectify its mistake".
They say the school has not responded to the three notices sent to it asking for an explanation. "We had also asked them to revert the funds back to the school's account, failing which their recognition would be withdrawn," an official said.
School principal Brother PC Christopher was not available for comment.
An education department official said, in September 2005, it was found that the school was diverting funds to the Congregation of Christian Brothers of India. "There was also a letter in which the body had raised a demand for 12 per cent of the fee collected annually.
Although the school has not denied this, there is no record of how the money has been utilised by the society," said the official.
Apparently, the school diverted Rs 53 lakh to the congregation in 2002-03. In 2003-04, another Rs 71 lakh was diverted to the parent body. In 2004-05, the school diverted Rs 59 lakh.
"Despite this, the school reported a surplus of Rs 59 lakh in 2002-03, Rs 43 lakh in 2003-04 and Rs 68 lakh in 2004-05. This means, the fee it charged from students was far beyond its requirement," said the official.
Although the Delhi School Education Act allows the management committees of schools to use its funds to set up another school, a 1999 HC order had put a hold on the diversion of money raised as fee to another body, be it the parent society running it, or another school.
Following the court order the education department had issued a directive to all city schools to this effect.
The Supreme Court upheld the HC order in 2004 after some schools approached it. The schools had then sought a review of the SC order, which is pending. Over 150 other schools are also under the scanner for irregularities.