A single judge bench of the Karnataka High Court on Thursday refused to stay the circular issued by the State government asking private unaided educational institutions to collect fees as per the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Regulation of Certain Fees and Donations) Rules, 1999, and referred the issue to a Division Bench.

Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri before whom the petitions filed by the Associated Managements of English Medium Schools and other private unaided educational institutions came up for hearing, refused to grant the interim order of staying the circular issued by the State on November 18, 2011 asking these schools to collect fees as per the Rules.

Section 4 of the Rules states that tuition fee chargeable by the unaided education institutions from each student has to be calculated this way: a sum of salaries of both teaching and non-teaching staff in the institution plus 30 per cent of the salary expenses towards contingency and maintenance costs, the total of which should be divided by the total number of students in the institution.

While the petitioner schools have claimed that a Division Bench of the High Court, during earlier round of litigation on July 12, 2004 had ordered to maintain status quo on the fees that were being charged by the individual institutions prior to enforcing of Rule of 1999, the government has contended that the High Court had asked the schools to collect the fee as per the then existing rules and it was the Rule of 1999 that was in force on that day.

Justice Hinchigeri referred the matter to a Division Bench as the question of legality of the Karnataka Education Act as well as the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Regulation of Certain Fees and Donations) Rules, 1999, are pending for adjudication before a Division Bench after the Supreme Court in 2010 referred the matter back to the High Court, which had dismissed the pleas against the Act and the Rules at the time of earlier round of litigations during 2000-2004.

The Supreme Court had asked the High Court to take a re-look at the issue in view of the law laid down by its [Apex Court] Constitutional Benches in case of T.M.A. Pai Foundation Vs. State of Karnataka in 2002 and the related verdicts.

Keywords: private schools

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