The state education department has warned private schools against citing a 2015 interim order of the Bombay high court (HC) to justify fee hikes imposed post-2017. The circular, issued on May 3, comes after parents of students across the state complained about schools imposing indiscriminate fee hikes.
After parents opposed the hike, many schools told them that the HC order allowed the petitioning schools to hike fees.
In 2015, the a division bench of justices Anoop Mohta and Amjad Sayed allowed educational institutes to increase their fees by 15% in 2016-17 while hearing petitions filed by private schools challenging the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of Fee) Act, 2011.
The court had allowed the petitioning schools to hike fees for the second year in succession as the act had come into effect from December 2014, after the fee hike was sanctioned by the schools’ parent teacher associations (PTA).
The education department’s May 3 circular clarified that the 2015 order cannot be used to sanction hikes imposed after 2017. “After consulting the legal department, it is now established that the interim order was applicable only for the academic year 2016-17. Any hike made after that, which is in contravention with the rules of the fee regulation act, is not justifiable. Officials need to act against such schools,” read the education department’s circular. “The final order upheld the fee regulation act which only permits a hike of up to 15% every two years. The department should take strict action against schools that don’t comply with the act,” said Anubha Sahai, president, India-wide Parents Association.
Meanwhile, a parent whose daughter is a student of Bandra’s MET Rishikul Vidyalaya, moved the HC against the fee hike proposed by the management in January for the academic year of 2019-20. Darshan Shah said the school hiked its annual fee for pre-primary sections by 44%.