SC asks schools to get government approval before hiking fees
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SC asks schools to get government approval before hiking fees

In a move that has brought relief to parents across the NCR, the apex court dismissed a petition by private schools against a High Court order, which required schools on DDA land to apply to the government before hiking fees.

SC asks schools to get government approval before hiking fees Parents, who had been agitating against private schools, finally get their way

Upholding the Delhi High Court’s verdict on fee hike by Delhi private schools, the Supreme Court, on January 23, gave parents in the NCR reason to rejoice.

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a petition by private schools against Delhi High Court’s ruling, which said schools running on government-allotted land could not hike fee without the consent of the state government.

"Once you have taken land from the DDA, you have to abide by the Education Act,” the Supreme Court said while dismissing the petition.

Earlier, in December 2016, private schools had hiked the fee for the academic session of 2017-18. The Directorate of Education (DoE), under the Delhi government, had opposed the hike and issued notices to the schools.

An official in the Delhi government told City Spidey that when the state government had asked schools to apply for the hike, only 72 of the 400 schools applied.    

He added, “When the government started sending charted accountants from CAG to audit their accounts, 28 schools withdrew their applications! Many schools had, in fact, started collecting hiked fees from the parents. Some among them agreed to return the extra amount or said they would adjust the sum. Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar Phase I is one of them.”

However, many schools refused to heed the DoE’s directive, and the matter reached Delhi High Court. On January 20, the High Court said, “It is clear that schools cannot indulge in profiteering and commercialisation of school education. Quantum of fees to be charged by unaided schools is subject to regulation by the DoE in terms of power conferred under Delhi Schools Education Act of 1973, and it is competent to interfere if hike in fee by a particular school is found to be excessive and perceived as indulging in profiteering.”

After the apex court upheld the decision, Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia said, “The SC order is in favour of the parents. The Delhi government is not against growth of private schools or the education system, but they have to follow guidelines. They must be transparent.”

The All India Parents Association welcomed the decision.

Rajeev Batra, a resident of Rosewood Apartments in Mayur Vihar Phase I Extension, whose daughter studies in Ahlcon Public School, said, “We all welcome the decision. No doubt it is a big relief for many parents.”