SC declines stay on Delhi HC order permitting pvt schools to collect annual fee

New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the Delhi High Court order permitting private unaided schools to collect annual charges and development fee after the last year’s Covid-19 lockdown in the National Capital.

The apex court bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Aniruddha Bose while hearing the submission of Delhi government seeking a stay on the HC order said, “We are not inclined to grant you the stay.”

The bench did not agree with the view of Delhi’s Directorate of Education (DoE) that it has the power to regulate the levy of fees by private unaided schools and the HC order allowing such a levy of annual and development charges be stayed.

The court also directed the petitioners to raise their grievances before a division bench of the High Court that is still examining last month’s order, which was issued by a single-judge bench.

On June 7, a vacation bench of Delhi HC comprising Justices Rekha Palli and Amit Bansal had clarified that the court was not inclined to issue any stay in the May 31 order of the single-judge bench and would only seek a response from the other parties for now while issuing a notice.

In the notice issued by the court, it was sought response of the Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private Schools, which represents over 450 schools, on the appeals of the Aam Aadmi Party government, students, and an NGO challenging the earlier order.

On May 31, a single bench of Justice Jayanth Nath ruled that schools may collect these charges for the last academic year, monthly, but only after a 15 per cent reduction in the payable amount, instead of un-utilised facilities (such as water and electricity) for the period after the lockdown ended in the national capital last year.

In its appeal, the Delhi government had said extra charges such as development fee was suspended as the upgradation, improvement, and maintenance was not required when the schools were closed for more than one- and-a-half years.

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