A three-member Committee headed by former Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh has recommended refund of the excess amounts of tuition fees charged by more than 100 unaided private schools of the Capital as they had increased it without paying the Sixth Pay Commission’s salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff as claimed by them.

At the time of hiking the fees, these schools had claimed that they had resorted to the hike to offset the deficit they had suffered due to the payment of new pay scales as per the Commission’s recommendations to their staff.

However, the Committee has nailed their claims. In its interim report submitted to the High Court in a sealed cover, which was opened by a Special Bench comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridual on Friday, the Committee said that of 200 schools whose accounts it had examined so far, more than 100 failed to justify the rationale for hiking the fees.

The Committee has recommended refund of the excess amounts collected from the parents of the wards with nine per cent interest per annum. The Committee has also expressed its doubts over the audit reports submitted by those schools whose claims were found untrue.

The Court had formed the Committee in 2011 on a bunch of public interest litigations. It had asked it to inspect and audit the accounts of Capital’s private unaided schools to find out whether the tuition fees hike resorted to by them last year was justified.

The Court had at that time also said that if the committee found the increase in fees in excess, the same should be brought down and the excess amounts paid by the students be refunded along with nine per cent interest per annum but if a particular school was able to make out a case for a higher increase in fees, then it would be permissible for such schools to recover from the students over and above what was charged in terms of the Delhi Government decision of February 2009 to allow these schools to hike the fees.

The Bench had passed the orders 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 Capital’s private unaided schools to hike the fees.

The petitioners had submitted that the decision to allow these schools to hike fees was arbitrary and illogical. They had further said the Government should not have allowed these schools to increase the fees without examining their financial records and going through the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court and the High Court for fee hike.

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