Pune: Mumbai High Court has dismissed a plea by parents of Dnyanganga English Medium School and directed the school to cancel the admissions of students who have not paid the fees. The parents were protesting against the school’s ‘arbitrary’ fee hike and were shocked by the High Court directives.
However, the school has not yet taken any action regarding the directives. “There is a great possibility that the parents might challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court,” said the concerned parents.
The order stated that the school can take action against students in accordance with the law for non-payment of fees, which is payable by them, as per the discipline of the school.
The school will now issue notifications to all parents, who have not paid the fees, stating that they need to clear the pending fees in the next seven days, or else the admissions would be cancelled as per the Mumbai High Court ruling.
The fight between the parents and the management of the school has been going on for at least three academic years, which started in 2015 when the school hiked its fees from Rs 19,900 to Rs 30,000.
Since then, the protesting parents haven’t been paying the fees. While the number of parents was six in 2015-16, it was 20 in 2016-17, and further increased to 457 in 2017-18.
“We are a permanently unaided school. Anyway, we haven’t yet received the full reimbursement against the 25 per cent admissions under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Moreover, if we don’t receive the fees of around 30 per cent of the regular students, how are we supposed to run the school?” said Jayesh Katkar, Executive Director, Zeal Education Society, while interacting with the media on Friday.
Reacting to the issue, Advocate Vinod Darekar, who is also one of the parents at the school, said, “We have forwarded the verdict to the parents, and many of them are ready to challenge the verdict further. However, we would not take any decision without consulting all the parents involved, and hence a meeting has been called to decide the further course of action.”
Advocate Vikram Deshmukh, legal consultant of the society, said that the fee was hiked in 2015, when the regulations for the Fee Regulation Act were not framed.
Advocate Anubha Sahai, a parent activist, who also represents All India Parents Association, said, “The fee hike by the school is not in the purview of FRA, but in the Maharashtra Prohibition of Capitation Fee Act. However, this doesn’t mean that the school can charge any exorbitant amount of fees. The school has to still get the fees approved from the PTA and the government.”
Prajakta Pethkar of Prajakta Pethkar Education Trust, a parent activist, who led a successful battle regarding fee hike against VIBGYOR School, said that the parents were caught at fault as they did not pay any fee at all.
“Even when I was fighting against VIBGYOR, I always submitted a cheque of partial fees as ‘under protest fees’, the amount that was justified. I just did not pay the unreasonably hiked fees to the school. Also, the parents should have lodged a complaint against the school when the issue started, instead of waiting for them to go to court,” Pethkar added.