HC stays till Apr 8 interim fee hike by pvt unaided schools
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday stayed till April 8 interim hike in fees by private unaided schools in the national capital on a plea of the AAP government challenging its single judge order allowing the same.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta also issued notice and sought response of Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, in which a number of private schools are members.
The Delhi government on Tuesday had challenged in the HC its single judge order allowing private unaided schools in the national capital to go ahead with the interim hike in fees to implement the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission on salaries of teachers and other employees.
The single judge on March 15 had permitted the interim fee hike by quashing a Delhi government circular of April 13 last year, which had prohibited private unaided schools functioning on government land from hiking tuition amounts without approval of the Directorate of Education (DoE).
The government order was selectively applied to private schools which were on government land and as per a 'land clause' in the lease agreement, they needed to seek prior approval of the DoE before hiking fees.
The division bench on Wednesday said that till April 8, the next date of hearing, none of the 'land clause' schools will proceed to collect the interim hiked fee. It also asked the Delhi government to produce on the next date, the orders passed by it on the proposals given by different 'land clause' schools for hiking fees.
The Delhi government, through its standing counsel Ramesh Singh and additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, said the findings of the single judge that the interim fee hike was perfectly in order in view of an earlier order of the high court is "ex-facie unsustainable".
Seeking to set aside the order of the single judge, the government said the court had erred in holding that no prior approval of DoE was required in case of interim fee hike as the same was not an act of fee increase by the school, but a dispensation by the department itself.
"The single judge failed to appreciate the interim fee hike as contemplated in the circular of October 17, 2017 could not have obviated the mandatory requirement of prior approval in DDA land clause cases, even though, the same was a dispensation by the DoE as the said dispensation was merely an interim measure subject to detailed scrutiny and prior approval of the DoE once the accounts of the schools have been scrutinised," the Delhi government said in its appeal.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Wednesday hailed the Delhi High Court's order staying the interim hike in fees by private unaided schools in the city till April 8. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also welcomed the court's order.
"Delhi government, in it audit report of schools that were willing to increase their fees, found that they had excess money than they were spending. Delhi has an honest government which understands the pain of parents. Schools have a right to charge fees according to their expenditure but this government will not allow them to increase their arbitrarily," he posted on Twitter. Kejriwal tweeted there was anger among parents due to the fee hike but the AAP government appealed in the High Court.