The Delhi High Court has stated that private unaided schools in the city that have been allotted land by the land-owning agency without a condition of seeking prior approval of the DoE for fee hike can increase the fee without obtaining any approval.
According to the order, the Directorate of Education will have the jurisdiction to interfere with the statement of fee submitted to it by the schools only if it is found that the proposed increase in the fee will result in profiting off the institutions and thereby prompt commercialization of education, Justice C Hari stated.
The judgment from the Delhi High court came in while setting aside the July 18, 2017 order of the DoE to the extent that Ramjas School, RK Puram cannot increase the fee for the 2016-17 academic session and in case the increased fee has been charged by the school the same has to be refunded to the parents or adjusted.
The High Court stated that the order issued earlier by the DoE on July 18, 2017 has been removed with relief to the petitioner (Ramjas School). It also added that in case of an unaided school which has not been allotted land by the land-owning agency with respect to conditions that were prior approved by the DoE is required to be obtained before increasing the fee and will not be required to obtain any such prior approval before increasing the fee in any academic session.
The order further states that the DoE will have the jurisdiction to interfere with the statement of fees submitted by such schools under section 17(3) of the Delhi School Education Act only by returning a positive finding that shows that with the present financial position of the schools, the proposed increase in fee will result in profiteering by which there is a commercialization of education and not otherwise.
According to the petition submitted by Ramjas School, it was allotted land by the Land Development Office in 1974 and there was no such clause in any of the documents relating to the allotment of the land to the institution which required to obtain prior approval of the DoE before increasing the fee. The petition mentions that the school was not subject to any land clause and it was a private unaided school that received no aid from the DoE or any government authority and was therefore dependent on the fee collected from the students.
The DoE contended that the power vested in them to ensure that the schools do not indulge in the commercialization of education extends to interfering with the manner in which the fee is fixed by the institution.
The school however argued that it was over 50 years old and its furniture and fixtures had become totally outdated which required urgent upgradation and replacement so that it would remain at par with the other schools and the expenses were incurred for the benefit of the students only.