Two associations of private unaided schools on Monday filed petitions in Bombay High Court challenging the state government's decision to regulate fees of all private schools across the state.
The petitions filed by Unaided Schools' Forum and Association of International Schools and Principals Foundation are likely to come up for hearing before division bench of Justice D.K. Deshmukh and Justice R.P. Sondurbaldota on Tuesday.
Petitioner associations have said that under the garb of fee regulation, state government's decision of July 15 curtails autonomy of private unaided schools and violates their fundamental right to administer educational institutes as per their own vision.
According to the 15 July GR, through which a mechanism for fixing fees of private unaided schools in advance has been introduced, the schools are prohibited from charging fees unless approved by specified committees. The GR also mandates the schools to put up their final accounts on their websites.
The associations have taken strong exception to the regulatory mechanism for granting pre-approval to school fees saying right of schools to fix their own fees was an essential part of their autonomy and any regulatory exercise could be done without insisting upon pre-approval of the fee structure.
"The GR, under the garb of regulation in fact creates a mechanism for fixation of school fees on artificial parameters," states the petition filed by Unaided Schools Forum. "The proposed mechanism could only result in government interference and bureaucratic red tape causing delay and depriving schools of the flexibility of planning their finances to suit their version," it adds.
They have also said the government decision was not workable and could not be implemented without unreasonable delays considering the high number of private unaided schools in Maharashtra.
The petitioner associations have said the state’s decision was contrary to the decision in TMA Pai Foundation’s case in which Supreme Court has recognised right of unaided schools to fix fees as an essential facet of their constitutional right.
They have also taken strong exception to conferring of more powers to Parent-Teachers Associations as the schools have been directed under the GR to seek consent of PTAs before granting approval to their fee structure.