No coercive action to be taken against Vidyashram, says HC
The high court on Tuesday directed the state government not to take any coercive action against Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Vidyashram School. This comes a day after the director of secondary education Nathmal Didel withdrew the No Objection Certificate (NOC) given by the state government to the school for hiking their fee.
The school had hiked the fee by 40% this year.
The director’s order stated that the school did not form the school-level fee regulation committee, according to the provisions of the Rajasthan Schools (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2016 and Rules, 2017. Due to this, the school has been found in violation of the Rajasthan Non-Government Educational Institutions Act, 1989 and Rules, 1993.
The notice has also been forwarded to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), asking the board to cancel the school’s affiliation. CBSE grants affiliation to private schools in Rajasthan only after the school has obtained a NOC from the state government. The NOC states that the school shall follow the rules formulated by the state government.
“The court said no adverse action can be taken against the school. Although the court has not categorically mentioned the director’s order regarding the withdrawal of the NOC, the order in effect stands nullified as CBSE cannot cancel Vidyashram’s affiliation now,” Prateek Kasliwal, the lawyer representing the school, said.
In the petition, Vidyashram has asked the court to declare the Rajasthan School (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2016 and Rules, 2017 to be “ultra vires, illegal and void”. It also requests HC to declare that Vidyashram “was not under any obligatory duty to form Parents – Teachers Association and the School Level Fee Committee for the year 2017-18 and 2018-19 as the Government itself has failed to prescribe the Academic Year.”
Speaking about the notice regarding the withdrawal of NOC, on Monday Didel had said, “An advocate and an administrative officer from the school came to present the case to the directorate. Neither did they submit documents stating that they have withdrawn the fee-hike nor have they followed the provisions of the Fee Regulation Act. So we have withdrawn their NOC.”
The notice said the secretary of the educational institution was asked to appear before the directorate in person on April 26, along with the necessary documents, to present the school’s case. The school, however, sent a mail replying to various points of the notice. Following this, another notice was sent to the school, once again asking the secretary to appear in person on Monday.
“The secretary did not appear, instead sent an advocate and an administrative officer, who asked for an additional time period of four days. When asked about the irregular hike in fees, the two said that they do not have the power to take any decision in the matter,” the notice stated. “By the representatives’ demand to grant more time, it is clear that the institution is not serious about abiding by the department’s rules and neither is it interested in taking back the hiked fees,” it added.
DEO to evaluate which schools have not yet formed fee regulation committees
District education officer Ratan Singh Yadav will evaluate and release a list of private schools in the district which are yet to upload details of the school-level fee regulation committee on the education department’s portal. A notice was issued to 7,000 private schools in the state which have not uploaded the details to inform their respective DEO regarding the matter by April 27.
The names of the schools, which fail to do so, shall be forwarded to the directorate for cancellation of their NOCs, the notice stated.
“We have received replies from many schools. On Wednesday, we will evaluate how many schools have submitted a response,” DEO Yadav said on Tuesday.