80 pvt schools to refund excess fees to parents: Panel to HC

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: May 10 2014, 02:48am hrs
A judicial panel set up by the Delhi High Court has recommended that more than 80 private schools have to refund the excess fees they had charged in 2009 without paying salaries to their staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

A three-member committee, headed by former Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh, set up in 2011, examined the financial records of 150 schools on a random basis out of total 1,172 schools and submitted its fifth interim report before the bench headed by Justice B D Ahmed.

With this report, the committee has so far examined the financial records of 755 private schools in the city.

In the report, the committee said many schools "unjustly" increased the fees and recommended that all of them refund the same with 9 per cent interest to the parents.

"The committee has recommended refund of fee unjustly hiked by 80 schools. Among them are 26 schools, where the committee, besides recommending refund, has also recommended special inspection to be carried out by the Director of Education.

"In respect of 54 out of 80 schools, which in view of the committee had unjustly hiked the fee, the committee has found that the fee hike effected by them in pursuance of the order dated February 11, 2009 issued by the Director of Education was either wholly or partially unjustified as...," the report said.

In August 2011, the Delhi Court had set up the committee to scrutinise the accounts of various unaided private schools to determine the validity of the city government's February 2009 notification permitting them to hike tuition fees.

This order had come on a petition filed by an NGO, Social Jurists, through advocate Ashok Agarwal alleging that schools had hiked the fees "unreasonably" but they failed to pay the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

The bench, also comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul, has fixed the matter for August 1 while directing Delhi government to file a status report within four weeks.

The report further stated records of 39 schools were found to be unreliable and "hence recommended special inspection to be carried out by Director of Education".

The panel, however, gave a favourable note to about 31 other schools saying it "found no reason to interfere qua the fee hike on account of the fact that the hike effected by them was not found to be excessive."

In September 2012, the panel had submitted its first report after examining the records of 200 schools and had recommended 64 private schools to refund excess fees with interest to parents.

Besides Justice Singh, the committee also comprised noted chartered accountant J S Kochar and R K Sharma, retired Additional Director of Education (Delhi Govt) nominated by Delhi government's Chief Secretary.