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The state Urban Development department has issued a notice to the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC), seeking a detailed report on seven civic schools charging fee from students in violation of norms. The department has directed the civic body to take action against those responsible for the lapse. The notice, dated July 4, was issued following complaints from an educational rights group last month. An official said the allegations were serious as the civic body was said to be collecting fees in violation of the Right to Education Act. “We are awaiting the report from the TMC’s education department,” said a state government official.
Last month, the Samaan Shikshan Mulbhut Adhikar Samiti had threatened to move court if the TMC did not stop collecting the fees. The matter came to light when advocate Shakeel Ahmed approached the Court Naka municipal school in Thane seeking admission for his son. Ahmed found that the school charged a fee of Rs 1,850 per year. Shyam Sonar, convenor of Samaan Shikshan Mulbhut Adhikar Samiti, said, “The violation of the RTE Act by the TMC was proven, and they have now decided to stop collecting the fees. However, our demand is that the civic body refund the amount collected since the RTE Act came into effect in 2010.”
Following a news report in The Indian Express, the TMC had issued notices to the schools to stop collecting the fees from the 2017-18 academic year. “I have received the UD department’s notice on Thursday morning and we will send a detailed report on the issue soon. The fee collected was very nominal and was according to an old resolution passed by the erstwhile education committee. We had no idea about this resolution. The moment the matter was brought to our notice, we passed an order asking schools to stop collecting the fees,” said Thane Municipal Commissioner Sanjiv Jaiswal.