80 pvt schools urged to refund excess fees

May 10, 2014 - 3:09:15 am

New Delhi: A panel set up by the Delhi High Court yesterday recommended that 80 private schools have to refund the excess fees they charged in 2009 but did not pay salaries to their staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations.

A three-member committee headed by Rajasthan High Court’s former chief justice Anil Dev Singh, set up in 2011, examined the financial records of 150 schools on a random basis out of total 1,172 schools and submitted its fifth interim report before the court.

With this report, the committee has so far examined the financial records of 755 private schools in the city.

Taking into note the fifth interim report of the committee, a division bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul asked the Delhi government to look if the unaided private schools have implemented recommendations of the panel, which had asked them to return the “excess amount” to parents with nine percent interest.

The bench asked counsel of Delhi government to check the status of those school who had been asked to pay back excess amount to parents and posted the matter for August 1.

Advocate Ashok Aggarwal, appearing for the NGO Social Jurists which filed the case, told the bench that the more than 350 schools not implementing the recommendations of the committee to pay back the excess fee and also hiked the fee.

In the report, the committee said that many schools “unjustly” increased fees and recommended that all of them refund the same with 9 percent interest to the parents.

According to the report, the committee has said that 80 out of 150 schools found the fee hike to be “unjustified, either partially or fully”, and hence recommended the refund of excess fee with interest.

Out of 150 schools, 65 schools’ records were found “unreliable” and committee recommended “special inspection” in addition to refund of fee.

After the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, the schools increased the fees, citing additional financial burden due to increased salaries of teachers.

In August 2011, the court gave directions for setting up a three-member committee to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the fee hike by them was required.

This order came on a petition filed by Social Jurists, through advocate Agarwal, which alleged that schools had hiked the fees “unreasonably” but they failed to pay the salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staff as per the pay panel recommendations.