Sudhanva Shetty Shetty
Writer, coffee-addict, likes folk music & long walks in the rain. Firmly believes that there's nothing more important in a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
A Hyderabad private school founded by a minister has found itself in the middle of a police investigation after it was revealed that it charged parents excess fees and took donations in violation of state government norms.
The complaint was filed by Hyderabad-based anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal. Mr Gopal first filed a complaint with the police in February. However, officials sat on the complains for over two months, meaning a fresh complaint had to be filed in May after a new Station House Officer took charge.
Presently, the Narayanguda police have charged the school – Narayana Concept School – with the following Sections of the Indian Penal Code:
Government Order MS 91 dictates that application fees for an educational institution cannot exceed Rs 100 and registration fees cannot exceed Rs 500 for private, unaided schools. At the same time, the admission fee cannot exceed Rs 5000.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Mr Gopal, who filed the FIR with the police, said, “The school has been charging an application fees of Rs 300, which is overpriced, and accepting admission fees up to Rs 40,000 … Many parents have been duped this way – not just in Hyderabad but in many schools across India. According to the law, you are supposed to return ten times the money you take in the case of donations. But since parents are not aware of this, school managements exploit them and overcharge them.”
The school in question was founded by Andhra Pradesh minister and Narayana Group owner P Narayana. Mr Gopal’s FIR comes at a time when there are many reports of hikes in school and college fees across the country, but in particular Telangana.
This is the not the first time that Mr Gopal has combated overcharging school administrations. “There have been a total of six different schools which have been charged with Sections 188, 289, and 420 for the same crime that they are doing. I have been fighting this for quite some time now. What I did not like about this case was the lax, nonchalant police reaction. The action taken should have been immediate and stringent. However, now that proceedings have begun, I hope that the parents get justice.”
The Logical Indian contacted Narayana Concept School twice for their comments. The first time the person at the other end redirected our call to another number; nobody responded to the forwarded call. The second time we called there was no response altogether.
This is not the first time that Vijay Gopal has taken it upon himself to ensure that the law is upheld. Only earlier this year, he filed a case against INOX Movies’ unfair trade practices and won the case. He also saw to it that restaurants that overcharge customers were fined for their excesses.
The Logical Indian community hopes that there is a swift and strict investigation into the case by the Narayanguda police so that the perpetrators are punished accordingly as soon as possible. We also hope that the wronged parents who have been robbed of their money will be reimbursed duly. Additionally, we thank Mr Gopal for his hard work and dutifulness for bringing this injustice to light and seeing to it that those responsible for cheating the public are made to face the law.
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