Mazgaon school parents lose fee refund battle in HC

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SummaryBombay High Court (HC) last week struck down an order of principal secretary, school education and sports department, that a private unaided school in Mazgaon refund fees for six years to three parents for failing to obtain ICSE affiliation.

Bombay High Court (HC) last week struck down an order of principal secretary, school education and sports department, that a private unaided school in Mazgaon refund fees for six years to three parents for failing to obtain ICSE affiliation.

“There is nothing to indicate the petitioners (school) acted mala fide,” it said.

Diamond Jubilee High School, affiliated to SSC board, was getting state government aid. After 2006-07 academic year, it decided to not seek the aid and apply for ICSE affiliation as a private unaided institution.

It sought the necessary permissions for the conversion that was to take place progressively each year from standard V.

Ibrahim Mansuri, Mohammed Ladiwala and Idris Ladiswala complained to the education inspector that the school increased fees for ICSE affiliation but their children continued to study SSC curriculum.

The parents had expected that the fees after the switch would not be more than Rs 1,000 a month. However, some of them said they were paying Rs 2,250.

The school, however, said the enhanced fees had nothing to do with its affiliation to ICSE but were for additional facilities and staff.

The school told HC it increased strength of teaching staff from 72 to 114 and annual salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff from Rs 39.17 lakh until 2007 to Rs 1.04 crore between 2007-12. It said it set up three laboratories, as many libraries, two IT labs and resource centres with more than 150 computers, equipped classrooms with software and 35 projectors.

Also, facilities such as a music room, yoga room, air-conditioned badminton-cum-basket ball court, squash court, table tennis room and outdoor volleyball-cum-basket ball court were provided.

A private housekeeping and security agency was also engaged, increasing its maintenance expense from Rs 88,000 a year until 2006 to Rs 24.38 lakh 2007 onwards.

The school said it applied for ICSE affiliation through a letter dated January 12, 2008, and though all formalities were completed, affiliation could not be obtained for reasons beyond its control.

HC noted the decision of the principal secretary dated November 27, 2012, was based on government resolutions (GRs) of July 22, 1999, and July 15, 2010, on fees that could be charged by unaided secondary schools. The GRs were, however, struck down by HC in a separate case in 2010.

“The right to establish and administer a private school is a right to carry on an occupation as guaranteed by

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