The Delhi High Court has directed several private schools to refund 75 per cent of the excess fee they had charged from parents of students. Earlier, the Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee, constituted after the HC’s order of August 12, 2011 had, in its 10 interim reports, recommended refund of excess fee with 9 per cent interest.
Many private schools recently moved the court challenging the recommendations. While hearing their pleas, a bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Najmi Waziri Wednesday noted that even after six years, the schools did not comply with the recommendations. It then directed the schools to deposit 75 per cent of the excess fee in the form of cash, fixed deposit receipts or bank guarantees in favour of the Registrar General.
The bench said it had provided adequate time to the schools to comply with the court order. It said that though there could be variations in the amount calculated by the committee, the “whole process” could not be stopped. “We cannot pass a blanket order that don’t recover the money. You deposit the money and we are inclined to give an expeditious hearing. The matter has been posted for further hearing on September 25,” it said.
Earlier, the committee had examined 1,092 private schools and said 531 had charged excess fee. It also recommended special inspection of 247 schools. Subsequently, on a plea by an NGO, represented by Ashok Agarwal, the HC had constituted a panel and issued directions for refund of excess fee. The NGO then again moved the High Court saying that more than 500 schools were yet to refund excess fee worth about Rs 350 crore.
On May 31, the Directorate of Education submitted an affidavit, saying that in order to ensure compliance of the committe’s report, it had earlier directed the defaulting schools to comply with the recommendations through five orders from February 2013 to July 2016. After this, specific orders were also issued for refunding excess fee “as part of the first step”. A total of 471 “erring private unaided recognised schools” were again issued directions, to submit the compliance report within seven days after receiving the order, said the affidavit.