The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed at the admission stage a batch of appeals challenging a Madras High Court verdict upholding the validity of the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act 2009.
The law enabled the committee headed by a retired High Court judge to fix fees for each school based on information obtained from the school on certain parameters.
A Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice H.L. Dattu after hearing senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi for the school management associations, and Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam, State Additional Advocate General P. Wilson and counsel S., Thananjayan for the State, declined to interfere with the impugned judgment and dismissed all the special leave petitions.
Counsel for the appellants submitted that the right to fix fees on their own by unaided private school managements had been taken away by the impugned legislation. Instead of managements fixing the fees, the onus of fixing them was on the committee, which was unconstitutional and violative of the rights to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
The law directly eroded the autonomy of the unaided schools, they said and sought quashing of the law and stay of its operation.
The Solicitor General submitted that the law in no way infringed on the autonomy of the schools. A questionnaire was given to each school to forward its fee structure with details and the committee fixed the fee. The object of the law was to ensure that there was no profiteering or collection of capitation fee.
Mr. Subramaniam pointed out that out of 10,934 schools, a total of 10,233 schools submitted proposals to the committee, which fixed the same amount of fees for 5,628 schools as per their request.
It was always open to the schools to approach the committee for revision of fees based on various parameters. He said that any bona fide desire for revision would not be discarded by the committee. He said the appeals should be dismissed and the High Court judgment should not be interfered with.