In a boost to parents of school children, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that both the state governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh “can and should” constitute committees to regulate exorbitant school fees.
According to a press release by the Hyderabad Schools Parent Association (HSPA), the Court had directed the governments of the two Telugu states to constitute District Fee Regulatory Committees (DFRCs).
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur observed that DFRCs could be easily set up under Section 7 of the Capitation Fees Act by modifying GO 91 itself and making a provision for notification of fees recommended by DFRC, the release said.
The HSPA which advocates government regulation for school fees, claimed that Thakur criticised the government(s) for filing a petition for the same in Supreme Court which caused a delay of six years.
HSPA said, "The judgement of the Supreme Court ratifies what HSPA has maintained all along - that either the govt. itself is misinformed about its own regulations or is deliberately misinforming the public."
Nitin Mishra, the advocate representing HSPA said, “The court was very clear in its opinion that the state government(s) have not done enough to stop private institutions from charging exorbitant fees.”
“It also upheld the Hyderabad High Court order regarding formation of regulation committees. Apart from this, the top court made several other oral observations,” Mishra added.
The press release by the group claimed the following as the court’s oral observations:
• If the Govt really wants to form DFRCs it can easily do so under Section 7 of the Capitation Fees Act. by modifying GO 91 itself and making a provision for notification of fees recommended by DFRC (same was observed by High Court also).
• The Govt. did not have to file a petition for the same in Supreme Court and then keep the matter pending for 6 years (It may be noted that the case came up for hearing only due to the efforts of HSPA and its counsel).
• This delay by govt. clearly indicates that the Govt. worked in collusion with pvt. Schools.
• The Hon’ble Court asked the govt. if it was sleeping for all these years while schools continued to raise the fees and expressed surprise that the govt. did not even deem fit to collect the data of fees charged by these schools and check if the fee hike was justified