The Delhi High Court, on Monday, asked the Delhi government to file written submissions in pleas challenging a single judge order allowing private unaided schools to collect annual and development charges from students for the period after the lockdown ended in the NCR in 2020.
The bench said parties may file their written submissions before the next date of hearing. On June 7, the high court had issued notices and sought responses of the Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools, which represents over 450 schools, on the appeals of AAP government, students and an NGO challenging the single judge’s May 31 order.
It had earlier recorded the statement made by senior advocate Shyam Divan and lawyer Kamal Gupta, representing the action committee that till the next date of hearing, they will continue to follow the existing principles in relation to collection of fees from students. The Delhi government, students and NGO – Justice for All have contended that the single judge’s decision was based on incorrect facts and law. The May 31 verdict, as per PTI, had quashed two office orders of April and August 2020 issued by the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi Government forbidding and postponing collection of annual charges and development fees, saying they were illegal and ultra vires the powers of DoE stipulated under the Delhi School Education (DSE) Act and the Rules.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh and Delhi government standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, had argued that the single judge gravely erred in passing the directions on the basis of a Supreme Court order relating to collection of school fees. Singh said the single judge overlooked the fact the Supreme Court judgment pertained to the State of Rajasthan and imposition of tuition fee was for a time when schools had physically reopened there, which is not the case in Delhi.
The counsel for the action committee has said the single judge had rightly ruled that 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 and Shikha Sharma Bagga, representing NGO Justice for All and various parents, had said 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.
In the May 31 order, the single judge had said the Delhi government has no power to indefinitely postpone collection of annual charges and development fees by private unaided schools as it would unreasonably restrict their functioning.
With inputs from PTI