Should private schools be allowed to collect annual charges & Development fees? Delhi HC issues notice in plea challenging single bench order
The Delhi High Court today issued notice on a plea challenging the order of the Single Judge which had quashed two orders dated 15th April and 28th August, 2020 issued by the Delhi Government restricting private schools from collecting Annual charges and Development fees from students in view of the Covid 19 lockdown.
The vacation bench comprising Justices Rekha Palli and Amit Bansal however refused to stay the single bench order.
The matter was earlier listed before the Division bench led by Chief Justice DN Patel, however due to unavailability of the bench, the matter was listed before the division bench of Justices Manmohan Singh and Navin Chawla which due to paucity of time, listed the matter before the vacation bench led by Justices Rekha Palli and Amit Bansal.
The appeal has been filed by the Delhi Government and students against the order of single Judge bench led by Justice Jayant Nath which had quashed the two orders as “an unreasonable restriction” on the functioning of private schools.
The Single Judge held that “the impugned orders dated 18.04.2020 and 28.08.2020 issued by the respondent to the extent that they forbid the petitioner/postpone collection of Annual Charges and Development Fees are illegal and ultra vires the powers of the respondent stipulated under the DSE Act and the Rules. The orders to that extent are quashed.”
The Court further noted that the private recognized unaided schools are dependent only on the fees collected to cover their salary, establishment and all other expenditure on the schools.
In the facts and circumstances of the case the Court observed that “ Any regulations or order which seek to restrict or in-definitely postpone their powers to collect normal and usual fees as is sought to be done by the impugned orders is bound to create grave financial prejudice and harm to the school.”
Quashing the order, the Court observed that “The respondent in the facts and circumstances has no power to indefinitely postpone the collection of Annual Charges and Development fees, as is sought to be done. The impugned acts are prejudicial to the said Schools and would cause an unreasonable restriction in their functioning.”