The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Delhi government to file a status report on how many private unaided schools in the city have refunded the “excess fee charged by them following a 2009 order of the Directorate of Education (DoE)”.
In 2011, the High Court had ordered the setting up of a three-member panel, headed by retired Rajasthan High Court Justice Anil Dev Singh, to audit the financial records of over 1,172 schools in the capital. The audit was meant to determine whether the fee hike was justified to meet the increase in the expenditure required to meet the salary structure of the 6th pay commission.
The committee has, so far, submitted five reports, indicting over 320 schools for making “unjustified or unauthorised” hike in the school fee. It has also recommended that the schools refund the excess fee. During the hearing on Friday, the committee submitted its 5th interim report before the High Court bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul. The report had details of 150 schools, of which 80 had been found to have unjustly hiked fees.
Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Mount Carmel School and The Banyan Tree School, Lodhi Road, figure in the list of 80 schools. The committee also found that the financial records of 26 out of these schools “did not inspire any confidence,” and has recommended that a special inspection of the financial records be carried out by the DoE.
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Advocates Ashok Aggarwal and Khagesh Jha, counsels for NGO Social Jurist which had filed the original PIL on fee hike, informed the court that only one school had actually refunded fees so far. The advocates also told court that the DoE had taken no actions to implement the recommendations of the committee.
The court had previously pulled up the government for not implementing the committee’s recommendations. It has now directed the Delhi government to submit a status report on the implementation of the recommendations by the next date of hearing in July.