Delhi HC stay on school fee hike extended till May 9
Observing that the increased fee, as demanded by city schools, was 10 times of what they were spending, the Delhi High Court Tuesday extended its interim order restraining private schools (operating on government land) from revising their fees till May 9.
“Parents just keep making payments to schools. The fee hike is 10 times of what the schools are spending. The teachers and students are getting poor and the schools are getting rich,” Justice IS Mehta remarked while hearing a plea by the Directorate of Education (DoE) which had challenged a March 15 order of the single judge allowing private schools on government land to hike their fees.
The court also directed the Delhi government to submit a sample order—one rejecting the fee hike as proposed by schools/parents and another accepting it—to understand the ramifications of a probable increase in fee and the grounds given by the Delhi government.
As many as 325 private schools in the city, including some well-known ones, are built on government land. Such schools have to take permission from the government to hike fee. For this, a proposal is submitted before the DoE, which scrutinizes the school’s accounts and allows institutions to increase their fee only if it finds that the school has no surplus funds.
Appearing for the Delhi government, its standing counsel Ramesh Singh and advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi told the court that they have been scrutinizing the schools’ balance sheets and have submitted that this (land clause) is a statutory scheme and cannot be overlooked.
Singh also explained the manner in which the scrutiny was done by DoE before passing any order on fee hike.
Appearing for the schools, its counsel said the DoE is only regulating private schools on government land (through the land clause) and not private schools functioning on private land. To this, standing counsel Singh said they only scrutinize the private schools when they receive complaints from parents.
Following this, the court directed the Delhi government to submit a few sample complaints to the court on the next date of hearing, May 9, till which time the schools cannot hike their fee.