64 schools must refund excess fee: Committee to HChttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/64-schools-must-refund-excess-fee-committee-to-hc/

64 schools must refund excess fee: Committee to HC

Amount to be repaid with 9 per cent interest,says interim report

Amount to be repaid with 9 per cent interest,says interim report

A three-member committee,set up by the Delhi High Court to look into the issue of fee hike,has found that 64 city schools “unjustly” increased their fees in 2009 without paying salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff in accordance with the 6th Pay Commission and directed them to refund the excess fee,with 9 per cent interest,to parents.

The committee, headed by former Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh,examined the financial records of 200 unaided private schools,randomly,of 1,172 schools and submitted its first interim report before the bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul on Friday.

According to the report,the group of Guru Harkrishan Public Schools,including its Purana Quila Road,Hargovind Enclave and Vasant Vihar branches,Guru Nanak Public School in Pushpanjali Enclave,Guru Teg Bahadur Public School in Model Town and Somerville School,among others,will have to refund the fee.

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“The committee recommends that the schools be directed to refund the increased monthly fee with effect from September 2008 till the date of actual refund along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum…,” the report said.

“Since the annual fee of the school is increased by about 10 per cent every year,there would be a ripple effect in the fee for the years subsequent to 2009-2010…,” the report further said.

The panel expressed its displeasure with the Directorate of Education (DOE) for not taking any action against the schools for operating without a bank account. The committee said the schools had no proper account books and their accounts were not audited as required by the Education Act.

The panel suggested legal action against 13 such schools and asked the court to pass appropriate orders to the DOE,saying “in case,violators are not dealt with by the department,their disdain for the rules would keep on pinching the pockets of parents”.

In August 2011,the court had set up the committee to scrutinise accounts of unaided private schools to determine validity of the city government’s February 2009 notification permitting them to hike their tuition fees.

Besides Justice Singh,the committee also comprised J S Kochar,chartered accountant,and an educationist nominated by the Chief Secretary.

Schools had claimed that they had hiked the fees to offset the deficit suffered due to payment of salaries in accordance with the 6th Pay Commission recommendations.