Court backs school fee hike
Is your child studying in a private school in Delhi? Then withdraw your protests for the time being and pay the enhanced tuition fee.
Beleaguered schools and the Delhi government on Thursday got the much-needed judicial support with the Delhi High Court issuing a provisional order backing the decision to hike fees by 25 percent. The court has even permitted schools to strike off the name of a child who does not pay the fee.
“Parents would pay fees at the rates specified in orders dated February 11, 2009”, said a Bench of Justices A K Sikri and V K Jain hearing a batch of petitions filed by parents body challenging the fee enhancement and schools who sought further hike.
At the same time, the bench made it clear that if it ultimately found the fee payable was less than what is actually paid, schools shall refund excess amount along with an interest of 9 per cent.
The court also asked parents to pay fee arrears for the period with effect from September 1, 2008 to March 1, 2009.
The court allowed school managements to recover arrears with effect from January 1, 2006 from students who are leaving the school after completing their education or even prematurely on their own.
Lawyer Ashok Aggarwal representing the parents stiffly opposed the provision to dismiss a student who does not pay the fee. “Interests of the child is paramount and the dispute between schools and parents over the fee hike should not affect their career more so when Right to Education is treated as a fundamental right,” he said.
But the court was not impressed.
Schools had demanded a hike in the fees to enable them to bear the additional burden created because of the upward revision of pay scales of teachers and other staff recommended by the 6th pay commission. The quantum of hike was decided by committee formed by the Government headed by S L Bansal, a retired IAS official.
The judges billed the interim order as one which would be “fair, equitable and one that takes care of interest of all sides”, but a closer look makes it clear that most directions favoured the school managements.But there was something in it for the parents too.
The judges told the schools they shall not take any coercive actions like removal, withholding of report cards if a student fails to pay the arrears from January 1, 2006 to August 31, 2008. This is seen as a partial relief.
The court also upheld a clause in the government notification that disallowed schools to withhold the report card of a student who did not pay arrears from Sept 1, 2008 to March 1, 2009.