More than 150 private schools in Delhi have started the process of refunding excess fees, including around 70 schools that have submitted excess fees to the state high court, said a report by The Times of India.
Delhi government had served a show-cause notice to 449 private schools on Monday, 21 August, giving them two weeks to refund the excess fees charged by them. The show-cause notice issued by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government was in line with the Justice Anil Dev Singh led committee’s orders. These private schools have been identified as overcharging parents in the name of implementing recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission. The committee which was formed last year had scrutinised 1108 private schools (unaided).
Certain private schools like DPS Mathura Road and Springdale Pusa Road have approached the court separately over the issue and are waiting for its decision before making the payments. The Delhi government has also threatened to take over the management in the aforementioned schools which have failed to comply with the orders of the Delhi High Court to refund excess fee charged from parents.
Many schools including Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in Lodhi Estate, Heera Public Schools in Gurgaon, Smt Misri Devi Gyan Niketan School in Deenpur have issued notices in newspapers, asking parents to collect the extra money.
Refunding of fees
According to the lawyers involved in this case, around 70 schools have made payments to the court and the rest have started the process of issuing cheques to the parents. Schools like Oxford Public School, Nehru Nagar and Smt Misri Devi Gyan Niketan School in Deenpur have already invited the parents to submit their bank details to facilitate the transfer of funds. A public notice issued by the Oxford Public School said that it will be refunding the excess Tuition and Development Fee and Building Fund and students were asked to collect the refund immediately.
Khagesh Jha, an advocate involved in this case told The Times of India, “the frequency with which these schools are processing the refund is encouraging. But the exact number of schools cannot be ascertained because many are sending cheques directly to the parents.”
A report by The Indian Express said that the government has filed an affidavit with the Delhi High Court, mentioning they have “already processed the proposal to issue show-cause notices for taking over the management of schools under section 20 read within Section 24 (4) (c) of Delhi School Education Act, 2009″.
“Complying with the Anil Dev Singh Committee recommendations, we had to take this action. The file has already been sent to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. We have no option but to take this action as we have been sending notices to them for several years now,” said Atishi Marlena, advisor to Manish Sisodia, Education Minister of Delhi, according to the report by The Indian Express.
Kejriwal claimed that among the private schools that have not rolled back the fee hike, one had a surplus of Rs 15 crores and another had a surplus of Rs 5 crores. The government’s response came in after a petition was filed by Abhibhavak Mahasangh, an NGO which alleged that the Directorate of Education (DOE) failed to comply with the implementation of Anil Dev Singh Committee recommendations.
In its interim and monthly reports of June 2016 to October 2016, the committee had recommended that 544 schools refund excess fee charged from parents at 9% interest. Of the 544 schools, 469 were asked to refund the money while 75 schools were inspected and then asked to refund the money. 67 private schools have challenged the committee’s recommendations, of which 17 cases are being heard in court.
The Logical Indian extends its support to the Delhi government for taking such a step in curbing unfair hike in fees by the private schools. Education is one of those services which should be accessible to one and all. Charging an inexplicably high fee in private schools amounts to exploitation.