Schools in the state can hike fees for the academic year 2016-17 up to 15%.
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday passed an interim order allowing schools to hike the fee without seeking approval from the executive committees of the parent-teachers’ associations (PTAs).
The HC was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by unaided and minority schools challenging the validity of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Collection of School Fee) Act, 2011, that was enforced from December 2014.
The lead petitioners, Association of International Schools, had sought interim relief, saying as the revision committees were yet to be formed, they should be allowed to impose at least a 15% hike without seeking nod from the executive committee.
“After hearing the concerns of the school, the HC granted us interim relief for 2016-17,”
said Sahil Kanuga, a senior lawyer representing one of the lead petitioners. “The schools are permitted to increase the fees up to a maximum of 15%, compared to the previous year’s fees. We are waiting for a copy of the order.”
The affidavit submitted by the state on the steps taken to put the required mechanism in place said the state revision committee and the eight divisional committees will be ready in a month.
“The state revision committee has been formed under retired high court judge S Radhakrishnan, but two members are yet to be appointed to the committee,” said GV Mattos, assistant government pleader. “The appointments will be done in a month, as the education commissioner has already published advertisements for it.”
The order was passed by a bench justice AV Mohta and AA Sayyeb.
The affidavit also stated the rules for the Act have been notified and suggestions and objections to it have been received. The rules will be placed before the next session of the state legislature, it said.
The court said it would look into the fee Act during the next hearing on January 18.
Schools said they are relieved as there is finally some clarity on the process of fixing fee. “As the government mechanisms were not ready, we didn’t know how to decide the fee for the coming year,” said Rohan Bhat, chairman of the Children’s Academy Group of Institutions.
Parent bodies said they would like to be involved in the decision-making process. “Schools will now hike fees without considering parents,” said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education.