Delhi High Court-appointed Justice (Retd.) Anil Dev Singh Committee tells 47 private schools to refund increased tuition fee

Forty-seven more private schools in the Capital have been indicted for charging excess tuition fees in 2009 by the Delhi High Court-appointed Justice (Retd.) Anil Dev Singh Committee. The committee suggested the Court direct the schools to refund the unjustly-hiked amount to parents.

The committee submitted its third interim report before a Special Bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul on Friday. The committee recommended that the unjustified or unauthorised fees charged by these schools should be refunded along with 9 per cent interest per annum as mandated by the High Court.

Prominent schools which the committee has identified include Bhatnagar International School, Vasant Kunj; Modern School, Vasant Vihar; Birla Vidya Niketan, Pushpa Vihar; Amity International School, Saket; N.C. Jindal School, Punjabi Bagh; Doon Public School, Paschim Vihar; Mahavir Senior Model School, G.T. Karnal Road; and Kitt Word School, Pitampura.

The accounts of 432 schools have been examined so far and 169 of them have been found to have collected excess tuition fees.

Citing personal reasons, Justice Singh told the Bench that he would not be able to head the committee after October 31. However, he assured it that the committee will submit the audit report of 104 more schools before he leaves. The accounts of 1,200 schools are under the scanner.

The Bench will now take up the matter on September 4 for orders on the recommendation and appointment of a new head of the committee.

The High Court had constituted the committee comprising two other members in 2011 to inspect and audit the accounts of these schools. The committee’s aim was to find out how much money was required to meet the schools’ increased financial obligations following implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. On that basis, the committee was to determine how much of a fee hike, if at all, was required.

The Bench had said that if the committee found that the increase proposed was more than required, the fees would be brought down and the excess amount refunded. The Court had further said that if a particular school was able to make a case for higher increase in fees, then it would be permissible for such schools to recover the amount from students.

The Delhi Government had allowed these schools to hike their fees in February 2009.

The Court orders had come on separate petitions by three non-government organisations — the Delhi Abhibhavak Mahasangh, Social Jurist and Faith Academy — challenging the Delhi Government decision to allow the hike.

The petitioners had argued that the government should not have allowed the hike without examining the schools’ financial records and going through the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court and the High Court.

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