Fails to start work due to non-availability of infrastructure

While the issue of school fee hike concerns parents in Delhi very intensely as many cut their personal expenses to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands of the schools, the Delhi Government has been caught napping on the issue of providing adequate infrastructure to a committee constituted by the Delhi High Court for examining the entire issue.

As a consequence, the three-member Committee – chaired by former Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh – has still not been able to start work on determining the fees structure that should be permitted in the private schools.

The matter assumes significance as a large number of parents are looking for relief from constantly increasing fees. The Committee has been told to examine the financial irregularities of the private schools in the Capital which hiked the fee in the past. Further, it also has to power to recommend refund of excess fees in case it found that the fee hike in any school was excessive.

It was on August 12, this year that the Delhi High Court had issued directions to the Delhi Government to constitute a Committee to determine whether the fee hiked effected by private schools in Delhi from January 1, 2006 – on the ground that they had to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations -- was justified or not.

Subsequently, the Delhi Government had issued notification pertaining to the constitution of the Committee.

However, despite three months having passed since the constitution of the panel, the Delhi Government did not deem it necessary to provide it the necessary infrastructure or staff to conduct its work. A member of the Committee toldThe Hinduthat “we had been given a task by the Delhi High Court and the Delhi Government had issued a notification.”

But, he said, the Delhi Government did not provide the infrastructure it should have. Subsequently, the Chairman of the Committee had written to the Registrar of Delhi High Court about the matter.

On Thursday, when the matter was raised before the Delhi High Court by Ashok Agarwal, who is a counsel for parents, a Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A. K. Sikri castigated the Delhi Government for failing to provide the panel with the necessary staff and infrastructure and directed it to submit its Action Taken Report in the matter within four weeks.

The Committee has in the meantime also asked that along with computers, website and email facility, it be provided with staff which knows accounts.

It has also sought assistance of chartered accountants in auditing the accounts of the schools.

Meanwhile, Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said on Friday that he was yet to receive a copy of the order. “We would be acting on the directions of the court immediately. I did not know that this was the situation or we would have provided the infrastructure earlier itself.”

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