‘Non-minority pvt schools can’t hike fees sans govt nod’

‘Non-minority pvt schools can’t hike fees sans govt nod’

KOLKATA : All

non-minority private schools

have to take permission from the state government to enhance

fees

, the

Calcutta High Court

recently said, adding violators should face consequences.

The court was hearing a petition last Thursday filed by the

Birla Bharati Guardians Welfare Trust

, which had alleged that the school had abruptly hiked

school fees

by 48%.

Justice Biswajit Basu cited the West Bengal Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012. “Why was this not applied?” he asked.

“Fees structure for students cannot be enhanced without the prior permission of the state government,” the rule he cited states. The school’s argument — that it applies only to a certain age bracket — prompted Basu to say, “Up to Class 8, you are required to take prior approval and you have to abide by the law.”

The CBSE, during the course of the hearing, had told the HC that fee norms of schools affiliated by them were regulated by state government norms. Another board, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), also said that all non-minority schools were required to take permission from the state before hiking fees.

“The board is very specific — you have to follow norms and regulations of state government,” Justice Basu told the school authorities. “If you not following orders, what will be the consequences?… Affiliation will go. This is a norm that they (the school) have undertaken to abide in order to get affiliation.”

Justice Biswajit Basu, while hearing a plea filed by the Birla Bharati Guardians Welfare Trust, which had alleged that the school had abruptly hiked the fees by 48%, also referred to the St Augustine Day School Ripon Street issue, which had been facing issues over affiliation irregularities.

“You (the board and the state) can withdraw your NOC. Like St Augustine’s Day School Ripon Street, you will be facing trouble. This is not a kingdom, which you can run your own way by your own rules… . Tomorrow they will say this is our own currency, we have our own military, we have own police force — you have to abide by the law. You are running a business,” he said.

State government has also filed a reply to the writ petition. The school pleaded with the HC to be allowed to file its response.

The HC allowed that and said it would hear the case again on Feb 9.

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