Laws laid down by supreme court




An association of private unaided schools had challenged the High court verdict, contending that permission was required before the beginning of the academic year. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar has dismissed a petition from Delhi private schools against a High court verdict concerning fee hike. Upholding the Delhi High Court's January 2016 judgment, the Apex court on 22nd January,2017 ruled that private schools have to obtain approval from the Delhi government before going ahead with their decision to hike fee.It has categorically held while dismissing the petition of private schools that -"Once you have taken land from DDA (Delhi Development Authority) you have to abide by the Education Act."


This petition had been filed as a Public Interest Litigation earlier before the High Court by Advocate Khagesh Jha for an NGO- Justice for all, seeking a direction that no private unaided school in Delhi which has been allotted land by the Delhi Development Authority shall enhance the fee without the prior sanction of the Director of Education. It had been pleaded that as per Master Plan 2021 an allottee of land for the purpose of establishing an educational institution is under an obligation not to increase the tuition fees without prior sanction from the Director of Education (DoE) as held in Modern School vs. Union of India & Ors. (2004) 5 SCC 583. and that the unaided educational institutions in Delhi have failed to comply with the same and have been enhancing the fees without taking the prior permission of the DoE and thus indulging in profiteering and commercialization of school education. The petitioner therefore, sought a direction to the Director of Education (DoE), Govt. of NCT of Delhi to ensure compliance of terms of allotment letter regarding prior sanction for any increase in tuition fees by all the unaided private schools situated in public land allotted by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and further to ensure that the fee fixation shall be on the basis of fee paying capacity of the residents of the locality for whose benefit the public land was allotted. The petitioner also sought a direction to DDA to ensure compliance of Master Plan of Delhi (MPD), 2021 by initiating appropriate action against the erring institutions for violation of the terms of allotment.


The specific case of the petitioner is that whenever land is allotted by DDA on perpetual lease hold basis for running the school, a specific clause is included in the allotment letter itself to the effect that the school shall not increase the rate of tuition fees without prior sanction of DoE, Delhi Administration and shall follow the provisions of Delhi School Education Act/Rules, 1973 and other instructions issued from time to time. It was alleged by the petitioner that in spite of the said specific term, the private unaided schools have been fixing the fees at very high rates, beyond the reach of the residents of the locality, without taking the prior permission of DoE. It is contended by the petitioner that the said action is in violation of the MPD and Zonal Development Plans of Delhi apart from the provisions of the DSE Act and the Rules made thereunder. It is also contended that the said schools are indulging in profiteering and commercialization of school education, which was disapproved by the Courts in several decisions. The Delhi High Court in its January 20, 2016 verdict had said that the schools built on land allotted by DDA cannot hike the fee before taking prior permission from Delhi government."It is clear that schools cannot indulge in profiteering and commercialisation of school education.Quantum of fees to be charged by unaided schools is subject to regulation by Department of Education in terms of power conferred under Delhi Schools Education Act of 1973 and it is competent to interfere if hike in fee by a particular school is found to be excessive and perceived as indulging in profiteering," the court had said.

The Honble Apex Court has held that- It is mandatory for private unaided schools, built on Delhi Development Authority land, to seek permission of the Delhi government before hiking tuition fees, even if the fee hike is done in the middle of the year. By way of another landmark judgement , Delhi High Court on 20th Jan 2017 stayed the operation of Delhi government circular on nursery admission norms regarding private unaided minority schools, telling the government to bring its own schools up to the mark before trying to impose their admission norms on private institutions. “Your (Delhi government) public schools are down the line, where people do not even want to study free of cost. They are pathetic, where teachers do not even come,” Justice Manmohan said and asked why Delhi government was not raising the standard of its school, and instead seeking to take over the autonomy of private schools.The Court has observed that -“There is a huge gap in demand and supply. You raise the standard of your schools before interfering in the functioning of the private schools,” the court said, adding that “you will be shocked to know that on ground level, none of the parents want to admit their children in your schools”.“Think about the future.



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