The Delhi High Court today granted one more year to Justice Anil Kumar committee, appointed to look into the excess fees charged by private schools here on the pretext of implementing the 6th Pay Commission, to complete verification of records of these institutions. The court’s order came on a plea by the committee, which was set up by the high court in 2011, seeking extension of its tenure which was to expire on December 31 this year. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and S P Garg perused the status report filed by the committee in which it has contended that till date, it has examined over 1200 private unaided schools, of which 565 institutions have been recommended to refund over Rs 154 crore collected without any justification. “In view of this, the tenure of the committee is extended till December 2018,” the bench said.
The bench also asked Delhi government standing counsel Ramesh Singh, appearing for the Directorate of Education, to prepare a list of parents whose wards were earlier charged extra fees so that the money could be disbursed to them. “Rs 150 crore are lying with the high court. We want to disburse it to the parents. We are not interested in keeping it with us. You should find out the parents and give a list of their names and addresses as their wards must have passed out of schools now. We can directly disburse money to them,” it said. During the hearing, advocate Ashok Aggarwal, appearing for the parents, said he has no objection if more time was granted to the committee to complete the work and added that he was receiving several calls from parents as to when they would get their money back. The committee in its plea has said it was also hearing review applications moved by several schools who have opposed its recommendations.
It has said that considering the time taken by the schools to produce their accounts and their verification, the committee would need another year to carry out the task given to it by the high court. The application was filed by the committee in the ongoing petition by an NGO, Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh, which has claimed that over 500 private schools were yet to refund the excess fees charged by them and sought initiation of contempt proceedings against all such institutions. Subsequently, several schools have moved the court challenging the panel’s recommendations as well as a May 29 order of Delhi government directing refund of the excess fees charged by them and warning of derecognition or takeover by the Directorate of Education in case of failure to do so.
Thereafter, the bench had directed the private schools to deposit with the high court 75 per cent of excess fees they had charged if they wanted protection from coercive action. On September 25, several schools had claimed before the court that they have complied with the direction to deposit 75 per cent of the excess fees charged by them.