Don't be surprised if your child's school fees go up soon. Private, unaided schools across Maharashtra are now free to determine the fees they want to charge their students, the Bombay High Court ruled on Wednesday.
Striking down two Government Resolutions (GRs) issued by the state to regulate fees, the court referred to a 2002 landmark Supreme Court verdict in the TMA Pai Foundation case and held that unaided schools have the fundamental right to fix their fees.
The apex court had held that the right to establish an educational institute was a fundamental right under the Constitution. "The GRs [dated July 22, 1999 and July 15, 2010] place restrictions on fundamental rights of schools," the court said, noting that while restrictions could be placed by means of legislations, they
could not be done through administrative instructions such as GRs. The July 15 GR required fees fixed by unaided schools to be approved by committees headed by the education department and include members of Parents Teachers Associations.
The court said that as per the provisions of the Prohibition of Capitation Fee (PCF) Act, 1987, only the state, and not an
independent panel, could regulate fees. The GRs had been challenged in court by two unaided schools' associations that argued that the state had no authority to regulate fees of schools that don't receive its aid.