Govt can't control fee structure of private unaided schools: HC

Accordingly, the Court set aside an order passed by Education department of Maharashtra Government directing a private unaided school here to refund fees to a group of students from academic year 2006-07 to 2011-12 as the school did not get affiliation to ICSE. 

Hearing a petition filed by Diamond Jubilee High School in Mazgaon, central Mumbai, justices S J Vajifdar and M S Sonak held that there was nothing to indicate that the petitioners (school authorities) had acted malafide.

The judges further said that the facts set out in the petition have not been disputed by the respondents. In fact, no counter has been filed by any of the respondents.

The judges opined that the right to establish an Educational Institution is a right guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and as such any restriction upon such right can be placed only by law enacted by legislature and not by a Circular or a Resolution issued under Article 162 of the Constitution of India.

The School had filed a petition challenging an order passed on November 27, 21012, by Principal Secretary, School Education and Sports Department of Maharashtra Government, asking the authorities to refund fees to students from academic year 2006-07 to 2011-12.

Diamond Jubilee High School, a minority educational institution, was affiliated to Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (SSCE Board) upto academic year 2006-07. The School was receiving aid from the Government till this period.

However, thereafter it decided to decline aid and convert itself into a private unaided school. The school resolved to convert affiliation from SSCE Board to ICSE, in respect of secondary section of the school, i.e from standard 'V' onwards.

In this regard, the necessary permissions were applied for and obtained. The conversion was to take place progressively, which means that each year one higher class would stop receiving aid.

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