No action yet against Panvel school month after students were punished over fees

Month after two students made to stand outside class in Shantiniketan Public School, Panvel, over non-payment of fees, no action yet from cops, education department

The principal of Shantiniketan Public School, Swati Roy, said Deepak Wagh is trying to defame the school with a false complaint. Pic/Datta KumbharThe principal of Shantiniketan Public School, Swati Roy, said Deepak Wagh is trying to defame the school with a false complaint. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

The parent of two children studying in a Panvel school, has alleged that the principal made them stand for one-and-a-half hours, as he was unable to pay their fees. But while he has complained in writing to the Khandeshwar police, and also approached the Education Inspector and Child Rights Commission to take action against the school, a month later, the police have not lodged an FIR, and neither have the other departments investigated the matter.

The school principal, however, said he is making false allegations.

Deepak Wagh, himself a professor in an engineering college, has alleged that his children, Om (6) and Vaishnavi (11), studying in Shantiniketan Public School, were punished because he and some other parents have been standing up against the exorbitant fee the school charges from parents.

The incident
"On April 5, my children were really quiet. When I asked them why, they told me that they were forced to stand outside their classes for almost one and half hours," alleged Wagh. He approached the police on April 6.

Wagh further alleged, "Since last year, I have been arguing with officials for overcharging us with the admission fees. Later, they gave me a discount of R20,000 and I have paid around Rs 49,810 of the total fees of Rs 72,740. But due to my financial condition, I couldn't pay for the previous year. But this doesn't mean that the school can punish my children for this."

False allegations
The principal claimed that some parents are trying to defame the school with false allegations. "Despite several reminders, many parents have not paid last year's fees. Wagh is trying to defame the school with a false complaint. We have given him concession on the admission fees, and also asked him to pay in installments. But he is not ready to pay. It is a lie that we punished his children," said Swati Roy, principal of Shantiniketan Public School. Roy claimed that the PTA decides the fee structure, and as a private unaided school, it can charge admission fees as per their budget.

Officials speak
Officials from the Education Department and Child Rights Commission said they will investigate the case. "It is illegal for a school to charge admission fees more than one month's tuition fees, and police cannot refuse to lodge the complaint of a parent whose child is suffering from harassment and punishment in the school premises. I will look into the case," said B B Chavan, deputy director of education.

"When we receive a complaint we immediately send our officer for inquiry and once we get evidence against the school, we call its officials for a hearing," said AN Tripathi, secretary of Child Rights Commission, Maharashtra.

The police also gave their reasons for not lodging an FIR. "We started investigation, but as we have not got evidence against the school, we cannot lodge an FIR," said Jayraj Chhapriya, Senior Police Inspector from Khandeshwar police station.

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