The single judge on March 15 had permitted the interim fee hike by quashing a Delhi government circular of April 13 last year.
New Delhi: In a temporary relief to lakhs of students, the Delhi high court on Wednesday stayed till April 8 the interim hike in fees by private unaided schools in the national capital on a plea of the AAP government challenging its single judge order allowing the same.
Seeking to set aside the order of the single judge, the government said the court had erred in holding that no prior approval of DoE was required in case of interim fee hike as the same was not an act of fee increase by the school, but a dispensation by the department itself.
In its appeal, the government said, “The single judge failed to appreciate the interim fee hike as contemplated in the circular of October 17, 2017 could not have obviated the mandatory requirement of prior approval in DDA land clause cases, even though, the same was a dispensation by the DoE as the said dispensation was merely an interim measure subject to detailed scrutiny and prior approval of the DoE once the accounts of the schools have been scrutinized.”
A two-judge bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta also issued notice and sought response of Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, in which a number of private schools are members.The AAP government on Tuesday had challenged in the HC its single judge order allowing private unaided schools in the national capital to go ahead with the interim hike in fees to implement the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission on salaries of teachers and other employees.
The single judge on March 15 had permitted the interim fee hike by quashing a Delhi government circular of April 13 last year, which had prohibited private unaided schools functioning on government land from hiking tuition amounts without approval of the Directorate of Education (DoE). The government order was selectively applied to private schools which were on government land and as per a “land clause” in the lease agreement, they needed to seek prior approval of the DoE before hiking fees. The division bench on Wednesday said that till April 8, the next date of hearing, none of the “land clause” schools will proceed to collect the interim hiked fee.
The division bench also asked the Delhi government to produce on the next date, the orders passed by it on the proposals given by different “land clause” schools for hiking fees. The government, through its standing counsel Ramesh Singh and additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, said the findings of the single judge that the interim fee hike was perfectly in order in view of an earlier order of the high court was “ex-facie unsustainable”.