Panel in week to examine school fee hike: Court told

September 9th, 2011 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) The Delhi government Friday told the Delhi High Court that it will within a week set up a panel as ordered by the court to audit the accounts of private schools that have been charging high tuition fees.

The Delhi government told the court this in its reply on an application seeking immediate setting up of the court-mandated panel.

A division bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul had on Sep 2 issued notice to the government seeking its response in the matter.

“We will constitute a committee and will also issue the notification in this regard within one week,” the government said before the bench.

Meanwhile, the court fixed the matter for Sep 16, directing them to submit the status report in this regard.

Earlier, the bench had given direction for setting up of a committee headed by former judge Anil Dev Singh to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the hike was required.

The bench authorised the committee to scrutinise the accounts of minority schools as well.

“If the committee finds that the hike was not required, the schools are bound to return the money to students with 9 percent interest rate,” the bench had said in a 143-page verdict on Aug 12.

The committee will also comprise J.S. Kochar, a chartered accountant, and an official from the Directorate of Education, to be nominated by the Delhi government’s chief secretary.

The bench made it clear that the city government’s 2009 notification will be treated as an interim measure but it would be subject to the scrutiny.

The court suggested to the city government to create a permanent regulatory authority, either by amending the Education Act or by enacting a new legislation, to resolve the issue of periodic hikes in tuition fee.

It also suggested to the central government to frame a national policy on fees for unaided schools.

The bench’s order came on a PIL filed by Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh, which had alleged that despite CAG’s indictment of 25 private schools for accounting malpractices including faking losses, the city government has allowed them to hike tuition fee.

The government notification, which was issued on Feb 12, 2009, had said that any school, which was charging a monthly fee of Rs.500, will be allowed to hike Rs.100. Likewise, any school charging a monthly fee of Rs.1,000 will be allowed to effect a maximum hike of Rs.200.

Schools with a monthly fee of Rs.1,500 were allowed to hike tuition fees by Rs.300 and those having a fee structure ranging from above Rs.1,500 to Rs.2000 were allowed to hike it by a sum not more than Rs.400.

The rest of the schools with monthly fees of more than Rs.2,000 were allowed by the notification to hike it by only Rs.500.

The Delhi cabinet had approved the hike ranging from a minimum of Rs.100 to a maximum of Rs.500 in the schools to ease their financial burden due to hike in teachers’ salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

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