Schools in Delhi ask parents to clear fee arrears

Days after the Delhi High Court set aside the state government’s order barring private unaided schools built on public land from increasing their fees without permission, many parents on Tuesday complained that schools had started asking them to pay “arrears” in order to implement the seventh pay commission’s recommendations.

Last Friday, a single-judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar quashed the department of education’s (DoE) April 13, 2018 order that barred private, unaided, recognised school running on land allotted by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) or any other government agency from increasing their fees without its prior permission.

After the court’s ruling, 325 schools built on government land would be able to charge an “interim fee hike”. DoE would file an appeal in the court against the decision.

Meanwhile, schools have started sending messages to parents, asking them to pay arrears. For instance, parents of children studying in VV DAV school in Vikas Puri received text messages on Monday, saying, “Dear parent, referring to the HC order 15.3.2019, regarding interim fee hike, arrears of Rs 11, 205 are due from April 2017 to March 2019. Please pay by ch/DD before result or by 23.03.2019.”

When contacted, principal Shalini Arora said the school has sent the messages following the court’s order. “As per the court’s order, the schools are now eligible to charge arrears from academic session 2017-18.

The court has quashed DoE’s April 13, 2018, order and hence, the DoE order dated October 17, 2017, allowing the schools an “interim fee hike” in line with the seventh pay commission’s recommendations, is still in effect,” she said.

Parents of students studying in another private unaided school at Pusa Road said they received similar messages asking for arrears. “The school asked the parents to pay Rs 15,000 as arrears with effect from 2017-18, otherwise they will not be able to collect the report cards,” Aparajita Gautam, president of Delhi parents association, said.

The department of education on October 17, 2017, had allowed the schools an “interim fee hike” of up to 15% to implement the seventh pay commission’s recommendations, provided they get their financial accounts audited by the government in a fixed period of time.

The order was withdrawn on April 13, 2018, saying the schools would have to obtain prior permission from it before increasing their fees and any hike would be permitted only after an audit of the schools’ accounts.

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