‘I am not a terrorist’
Dr. Avisha Kulkarni, mother of Class 9 student Adhishree Gopalkrishnan, who was expelled from Vibgyor High, Goregaon, broke down in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday saying she only had the interests of her daughter and other students in mind when she opposed the fee hike.
Adhishree, who was already studying in Vibgyor High, was granted admission to the next academic year in May and her parents even paid her fees. The school, however, cancelled her admission abruptly.
Her parents alleged this was done because they had spoken against the school's decision to hike fees.
Adhishree’s mother, Avisha Kulkarni, was a member of the Bansal committee that formed guidelines to regulate fee hikes.
The school management had recently alleged that Kulkarni had spoilt the ICSE school's environment and had terrorised the teachers, principal and the management.
“I am not a terrorist, I am a mother,” Kulkarni said while refuting the allegations.
“These are false allegations made with mala fide intentions. I fought for justice for my daughter and 1,700 other students of the school.”
Kulkarni stepped forward after Vibgyor High and its management objected to an interim arrangement proposed by the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari.
The judges made it clear that it was not inclined to grant any interim relief to the student, but proposed that the school readmit her on an undertaking from the parents that while the petition was pending, they would neither visit the school nor lodge any complaints with the government.
Adhishree’s lawyer B.K. Subbarao, initially hesitated in accepting the conditions. “Tomorrow parents fighting for their rights will be punished in this fashion,” he said.
But he later agreed to give an undertaking.
The school, however, opposed the arrangement saying such an undertaking will not help improve the “disturbed” environment of the school.
“This will certainly not help the teachers regain their lost confidence,” said senior lawyer Janak Dwarkadas, who is representing the school.
"Initially, the management was also of the opinion that the child should not suffer but then we faced a near revolt. Now the things have reached such a stage…”
The school management's lawyer, Aspi Chinoy, also said the interim arrangement would not work and would affect the functioning of the school.
The judges will hear the matter on Wednesday.