Sixty-four private city schools have illegally collected higher fee from students since September 2008, a committee has informed the Delhi high court while recommending a refund of the money with 9 percent per annum interest.
The 600-page interim report of Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee, which randomly examined the accounts of 200 schools, was opened by a special bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul Friday.
The committee was constituted about a year ago to submit a report on the determination of fees in the unaided schools in Delhi.
Its first interim report was based on an examination of 200 unaided private schools out of a total 1,172 institutions.
In the case of 13 schools, the committee found that either no records were maintained or the accounts were fudged. It recommended strict action against these schools.
“The committee recommends that the schools be directed to refund the increased monthly fee from September 2008 till the date of actual refund along with the interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum,” the report said.
It also raised questions on the working of the department of education as it did not act in accordance with the law in inspecting the schools.
“The regulatory mechanism envisaged by the law has been thrown to the winds by the directorate of education. Schools are enjoying total and unbridled freedom in acting in the manner they like,” the report said.
“Right from the stage of granting recognition, the lack of supervisory control of the directorate is writ large. Hardly any inspections are done and even if they are, they are conducted in a most perfunctory manner,” the report said.
The bench July 20 directed the committee to submit a report on the fee hike in unaided private schools in Delhi.
After the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, the schools increased the fees citing additional financial burden due to increased salaries of teachers.
The court gave directions for setting up a committee to audit the accounts of each of the schools to ascertain if the fee hike by them was required.
The committee also said that there were 143 schools which increased the fee without implementing the Sixth Pay Commission.
Many of the schools in the city were operating without even a bank account and years after years they were granted recognition, it said.
Several of the schools have not been maintaining proper accounts and were not getting their accounts audited as required by the law, and were also not filing annual returns, the report said.
“Some of the schools have been fabricating their accounts and getting various types of certificates from chartered accountants which do not qualify as audit reports,” said the report.
Advocate Ashok Agarwal, appearing for a group of parents, earlier said that if the report was submitted “it would be a great relief to the exploited parents, as they would be entitled to refund of the excess fee recovered from them by schools”.
The court would next hear the matter Sep 14.