Delhi govt plans school fee regulatory body
As per the draft law, a private school can demand hike once in three years, which can be implemented only after clearance by a three-member committee.
“If a private school violates a rule or order of the committee, the in-charge and persons responsible for violation will be liable for imprisonment for up to three to seven years and a fine of Rs 5,000 will also be slapped against them,” said the draft rule, making the provision of jail term for the first time in such offences.
The proposed law, Delhi Unaided Private Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Bill 2015, also aims to regulate fee structure of play schools and pre-nursery schools. The draft Bill was discussed at a high-level meeting on Wednesday. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM and Education Minister Manish Sisodia, Senior Advocate Ashok Agarwal, Secretary to CM Rajender Kumar and AAP leader <g data-gr-id="34">Atishi</g> Marlena were present in the meet. “The CM has directed the officers concerned to examine the draft Bill and take a decision within a month. Thereafter, the final version would be taken up in the Assembly,” said Ashok Agarwal.
The government has also decided to send a delegation to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan to examine the working of Fee Regulation Committees in the states, besides consulting Justice Anil Dev Singh, who is heading a panel to investigate fee hike by private schools in Delhi.
According to sources, the government is also considering to summon a Special Session of the Delhi Assembly to pass the Bill to ensure its implementation from the next academic session.
The committee will have all powers of a civil court, including summoning, examination of witnesses or discovery and production of documents under Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. “The committee will have powers to order <g data-gr-id="46">refund</g> of <g data-gr-id="47">extra</g> fee to parents with an interest of 9 per cent, besides disciplinary action against the school, including initiating the process of de-recognition. We have also framed provisions to ensure that schools don’t outsource collection of fee or dubious charges to any other person or company in any form,” said Ashok Agarwal, senior advocate, who is involved in drafting of the Bill. Besides, the chairman, whose term will be three years, the committee will have Director of Education and a chartered accountant as members.
As per the proposed law, if a school management wants to hike <g data-gr-id="40">fee</g>, it will have to apply to the committee, along with its account books. The committee will pass an order on fee hike, taking into account location, infrastructure, reasonable surplus required for the growth of the school and expenditure, etc. “The school, if aggrieved by the decision, can file an appeal within 15 days, on which the committee will have to pass an order within 30 days,” added Agarwal.