By Sushil Batra
New Delhi [India], July 14 (ANI): Directorate of Education (Delhi Government) on Wednesday submitted that being the regulator of schools it cannot ignore the acute financial pressure and stress on the general public where a lot of children have lost their one or both parents or source of earning has depleted or the jobs and businesses have vanished due to lockdown in current COVID-19 pandemic which has been continuing since March 2020.
Therefore, such an attempt of schools to run on commercial lines instead of being charitable in nature to recover amount on the presumption that normal physical functioning has resumed is improper, harsh, and unjustified.
The submission of Senior Advocate Vikas Singh representing Delhi Government in an appeal against Single bench order allowing private schools to charge annual fees and Development Charges from last year is that the institutions are expected to extend maximum support in education so that the maximum students should have access to education by having convenient financial atmosphere through schools.
Singh further submitted that the Director Education in Delhi has sufficient powers which have been upheld by the 3-judge bench of Supreme Court in Modern School and the review of Modern School judgment.
Advocate Khagesh B. Jha, appearing on behalf of parents argued extensively submitting that schools have been deliberately misreading the judgment of a single judge and have been charging for meal charges, online swimming charges, or virtual Dubai tour. Why should a parent pay the price of an apple if he is purchasing an orange? Many students are being dropped out of school or seeking transfer from private to government schools because of threat from the schools, to pay those charges which were not been spent by the school in lockdown.
Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on Wednesday after noting down the submission deferred the hearing for tomorrow. The bench is hearing the batch of appeals moved by DoE and several parents and NGOs against the single bench order allowing private unaided recognised schools to collect annual and development charges from students for the period after the lockdown lifted in the city.
Earlier, Delhi Government submitted that the single bench judge order will overburden the parents. According to the calculation, 60 per cent of tuition fees charged by the school are enough for the teachers' salaries and other expenses.
Senior Advocate Shyam Divan represented the action committee unaided recognised private schools.
The single judge has recently quashed two office orders of April and August 2020 issued by the Directorate of Education of the Delhi government forbidding and postponing the collection of annual charges and development fees. Single-Judge Bench has said that the Delhi government has no power to indefinitely postpone the collection of annual charges and development fees by private unaided schools.
The Delhi government had submitted that decision was taken in larger public interest keeping aspects of the financial crisis being faced by people due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools, which represents 450 private unaided schools, has challenged Delhi government notifications before the single-judge bench. The organisation had challenged the two office orders of April and August last year of the DoE on grounds that they curtail the rights of the private unaided recognised schools to fix their own fees. (ANI)