Notices to 64 schools for charging excess fee
New Delhi, Sep 28,2012: The city government today told the Delhi High Court that it has started issuing notices to 64 private schools to refund the excess fees charged by them in 2009 without paying salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Appearing before the bench headed Justice B D Ahmed, the counsel for the Directorate of Education, Delhi government, told the court that the department has started issuing notices following the judicial panel's suggestions last month.
A three-member committee headed by former Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh, set up last year, had examined the financial records of 200 schools on a random basis out of total 1172 schools and submitted its first interim report before the court. The committee said in its report that 64 schools "unjustly" increased fees and recommended that all of them refund the same with 9 percent interest to the parents.
As per the panel report, the group of Guru Harkrishan Public Schools, including the one on Purana Qila Road, Hargovind Enclave and Vasant Vihar branches, Guru Nanak Public School in Pushpanjali Enclave, Guru Teg Bahadur Public School in Model Town and others have to refund the extra fees with interest to the parents.
"The committee, therefore, recommends that the schools be directed to refund the increased monthly fee with effect from September 2008 till the date of actual refund along with the interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum. The school should also refund the arrear of fees recovered from the students along with the interest of 9 percent," the panel said. "Since the annual fee of the school is increased by about 10 percent every year, there would be a ripple effect in the fee for the years subsequent to 2009-2010....," the report also said.
The committee had expressed its displeasure over Delhi government's not taking any action against the schools for operating without even a bank account, not maintaining proper books of accounts and not getting their accounts audited as required by the Act and rules and yet granting them recognition.
The panel had also suggested legal action against 13 such schools for not maintaining proper financial records and sought the court to pass an appropriate order to the DOE, saying "in case violators are not dealt with adequately by the department, their disdain for the rules would keep on pinching the pockets of parents."
In August last year, while hearing a PIL filed by Social Jurists through counsel Ashok Agarwal, the court had set up the committee to scrutinize the accounts of various unaided private schools to determine the validity of the city government's February 2009 notification permitting them to hike their tuition fees. Besides Justice Singh, the committee also comprised J S Kochar, a noted chartered accountant, and educationists nominated by Delhi government's Chief Secretary.