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Delhi’s education dept withdraws order derecognising Bal Bharati Public School Pitampura

The school had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court against two orders issued by the DoE. The court has now laid down a proper procedure for DoE to follow, giving the school opportunities for hearings if it wishes to issue a fresh order against it.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: October 10, 2021 8:35:36 pm
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a global shutdown of schools in more than 188 countries, leaving 1.6 billion children -- 75 per cent of enrolled students -- out of school. File.

The Directorate of Education (DoE) has withdrawn its October 1 order derecognising Bal Bharati Public School, Pitampura. This comes after the school moved the Delhi High Court. The court has now laid out a procedure for DoE to follow, giving the school opportunities for hearings if it wishes to issue a fresh order against it.

The DoE had issued the order withdrawing its recognition of the school on grounds that it “illegally” increased fees in the years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 without its approval. The order had directed that the school would not be allowed to take new admissions from the 2022-23 session. It further said the school could continue functioning till the end of this academic year, after which students would be shifted to nearby private schools run by the Child Education Society or nearby government schools.

Following this, the school petitioned the High Court against two orders issued by the DoE — the first being the order withdrawing its recognition, and the other being an order dated August 16 in which the DoE had rejected the statement of fees submitted by the school for 2019-2020.

The DoE stated that various “discrepancies” were found in the school’s fee proposal for the year 2019-2020 through an evaluation conducted by a team of chartered accountants appointed by it, but the school stated that the report was not shared with it and that they were not given a chance to respond to it.

During the hearing on October 8, Justice Prateek Jalan noted that the DoE’s standing counsel “submits that the DoE is agreeable to withdraw the impugned orders… in the facts and circumstances of this case, and to grant a hearing to the school on the issues raised therein”.

Disposing the petition following DoE’s withdrawal of its order, the court has directed that the directorate must supply a supplementary statement to the school within 15 days if it wishes to raise any other issues with regard to the 2019-2020 fee statement.

“The DoE will also supply the materials relied upon, including the report of the chartered accountants, to enable the school to respond to the alleged discrepancies identified against it,” states the court’s order.

The school is to be given three weeks to respond to the allegations and file any documents to support its contentions. Before any fresh order on the school’s 2019-2020 fee proposal, the DoE has been directed to give the school “an opportunity of hearing”.

After this exercise, if the DoE wishes to take any action regarding the school’s recognition, it has been directed to first issue a show-cause notice and grant a personal hearing.

“Naturally, the question of proceedings for withdrawal of recognition of the school on this ground will arise only in the event the DoE comes to a conclusion adverse to the school with regard to the fee proposal for the year 2019- 2020,” the order states.

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