64 schools asked to refund fee

Schools in the national capital had increased the fees in 2009 after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | September 3, 2012



Errant private recognized schools may have to give back money collected from unjust fee hikes to its students with 9 percent interest, as the fee hiked by these schools was not required.

The report submitted by Justice Anil Dev Singh committee has recommended to the court that 64 schools should return the fee charged from its students after the implementation of sixth pay commission. Against 13 other penal action has been recommended as many schools were operating without a bank account, years after they were recognized and were not filling annual returns as required by the act. Several have not maintained proper books of accounts and were not getting their accounts audited as required by the act and its rules.

The report said that some schools have fabricated their accounts and got various types of certificates from chartered accountants which do not qualify as audit reports. The committee has audited 200 schools out of 1200 private recognized schools in Delhi.The reports of chartered accountants which said that the final accounts are in agreement with the books of the accounts could not have been treated as the annual reports.

After the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission in 2009, the schools in the national capital had increased the fees after Delhi Government’s approval, with implementation from 2006. In August 2011, while hearing a petition filed by the Delhi Abhibhvak Mahasangh, the Delhi high court slammed the directorate of education for “abdication of its role” of monitoring school fees. The bench of justices A K Sikri and Sidhart Mridul said the government could not issue a blanket notification permitting all private schools to hike tuition fees and that this “led to arbitrariness”. The court then constituted a three member committee headed by Justice Anil Dev Singh, retired chief justice of Rajasthan high court to assess the need for fee hike. The court then gave direction for setting up a committee to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the hike was required.

The court said that if the panel found that the fee hike by a school was more than required, the excess amount would be refunded along with a 9% interest.

The bench authorised the committee to scrutinise the accounts of minority institutions as well. The regulatory mechanism envisaged by the law has been thrown to the winds by the DoE. Schools are enjoying total and unbridled freedom in acting in the manner they like right from the stage of granting recognition, the lack of supervisory control of Directorate is large. Hardly any inspections were done and even if they were conducted they were conducted in a most perfunctory manner. It added that section 24 of the act mandates a proper annual inspection of all recognized private schools. The report also said that in case the inspection was conducted the violations of the rules would not have escaped the attention of the directorate of education.

Delhi has a total of 1,200 unaided schools recognised by the government. The committee, which has audited the accounts of 200 schools, will now submit the report of rest of the schools on monthly basis.

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