HC refuses to stay order letting private schools charge fees

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The Delhi High Court on Monday declined to put on hold its May 31 order allowing private unaided schools in the Capital to collect annual and development charges from students for the period after the lockdown ended.

A Vacation Bench of Justice Rekha Palli and Justice Amit Bansal said, “We are rejecting the stay application”.

‘Give money to schools’

“Don’t be just a populist government. Give money to schools also. They also need money to run the schools. They have to pay taxes also,” the Bench added.

The High Court also issued notice to the Action Committee of Unaided Recognised Private Schools, which represents over 450 schools here, on the appeals of city government, students and NGO ‘Justice for All’ challenging the High Court’s May 31 order. The court will hear the case again on July 12.

On May 31, the HC had quashed orders issued by the Department of Education, Delhi government on April 18, 2020, and August 28, 2020, restraining the private school unaided schools from collecting annual charges and development fees beyond the lockdown period and deferring it till physical opening of the schools.

The Delhi government contended the May 31 order failed to appreciate the powers of the Department of Education to pass such an order. It’s counsel contended that the order was erroneous and prayed for staying the operation of the verdict.

The Delhi government has contended that its orders of April and August last year were issued in larger public interest as due to the COVID-19 lockdown people were in financial crisis.

The private schools, represented by senior advocate Shyam Divan, opposed the stay application on the ground that the Delhi government had no power to interdict private contracts between schools and students’ parents.

The private schools said the order had noted there was no allegation of schools indulging in profiteering in this case and in the absence of such allegation, there could be no interference by the Delhi government.

Advocates Khagesh Jha, representing NGO Justice for All and various parents, argued the private schools were asking for paying charges for something which is not being provided to the students and the schools have started harassing the parents by asking to deposit money.

The appeals on behalf of the students have claimed that establishment costs, like repairing of buildings, administrative expenses, rent and hostel expenses, are not applicable when the schools are closed.


This article was originally published on The Hindu