Will form committee to regulate fees of all schools: Maharashtra government tells Bombay HC

Maharashtra government has told the Bombay High Court that it is forming a committee that will regulate fees of all schools – aided, unaided and minority as well. The state told the court that there was no mechanism at this moment to regulate school fees, but in next two months a committee will prescribe and regulate fees of all schools in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice D H Waghela and M S Sonak was hearing a petition filed by a parent Amit Sathe whose kid is studying in Billabong High International School in Thane. Parents have alleged that the school has proposed a fee hike of 18 per cent, which is not agreeable to them.

The school has allegedly also targeted students who have not paid fees by asking them to refrain from attending classrooms, and parents had to even approach the Thane police seeking help. The parents have further alleged that the school has been charging huge sums under capitation fees besides collecting money under categories like sports, performing arts and school essentials.

Meanwhile, the counsel of the school told the bench that the state had no right to intervene in an unaided school’s fee structure. But, government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the bench that the state can regularise the fees, and that presently there was no mechanism to do so.

In the next two months, the state will form a committee to prescribe and regularise fees of all schools. "The management of schools can come up with a fee structure, but they will need the approval of the committee before applying it. All schools will fall under the structure. We don’t interfere in admissions of unaided schools, but for fees they will need approval of the committee," Vagyani told court.

Billabong School has been alleging that the parents of around 20 students have not paid fees since 2013-2014 and, in 2014-2015, the school did not allow their children to sit in classrooms. Only after police interfered was the matter was solved, and now the parents have approached the High Court. One of the parents even alleged that the school has been charging Rs 30,000 under the head of capitation fees.

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