Complaints can be lodged with Private Schools Fee Determination Committee against collection of exorbitant money by private schools in the guise of supplying uniforms, bags, footwear and stationery

Parents and others aggrieved over collection of exorbitant money by private schools in the guise of supplying uniforms, bags, footwear and stationery could lodge complaints with Private Schools Fee Determination Committee (PSFDC), appointed by the State government, the Madras High Court Bench here said on Tuesday.

No blanket order

Disposing of a public interest litigation petition, a Division Bench of Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice V.M. Velumani held that the PSFDC would be the right forum to approach in such issues since the High Court could not pass a blanket order directing all schools to desist from providing supplies either at the school or through designated stores.

Earlier, Mr.Justice Ramasubramanian told the petitioner’s counsel that uniforms were meant to ensure homogeneity among students irrespective of their economic status.

If the parents were asked to purchase uniforms on their own, there were chances of some purchasing expensive clothing material and others remaining content with low quality cloth.

Further, there were also some schools that placed orders for stitching uniforms with tailoring units run by destitute women and other such institutions, he added.

Nevertheless, agreeing that schools should not be converted into a marketplace aimed at making money, the judge said the PSFDC, headed by former High Court judge S.R. Singharavelu, would be the right forum to deal with the matter.

Petitioner at liberty

The Division Bench gave liberty to the PIL petitioner, E. Liyahath Ali, secretary of Chappal Bazaar Association at Katrapalayam here, to approach the fee determination committee since his case could not be considered to have been filed entirely in public interest in view of the business interest of the association members also having been involved in it.

In his affidavit, the petitioner had stated that of late starting an education institution had become a lucrative commercial opportunity. Collection of exorbitant amount of money under the head of supplies was burning a hole in the pocket of the parents, besides leading to loss of business to small traders, he had said.

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