Petitions have also been filed in the court by students studying in private schools. Delhi government, in its appeal, contended that its orders of April and August last year were issued in larger public interest as due to the lockdown people were in financial crisis. It maintained that “charging fees is not the only source of augmenting the income” and schools, if unregulated, will determine their own fee structure “as per their whims and fancies.”
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The appeal added that the government was duty bound to not allow fees to be charged under any other heads than those necessary. The appeals filed on behalf of the students have argued that establishment costs, like repairing of buildings, administrative expenses, rent and hostel expenses,were not applicable when the schools were closed. They also contended that the charging of annual and development fees was only deferred and not stopped, and the schools could have charged the same once the pandemic situation normalised.
The single judge, in the May 31 judgment, quashed two office orders of April and August 2020 issued by the Directorate of Education (DoE) of Delhi government forbidding and postponing collection of annual charges and development fees, saying they were “illegal” and “ultra vires” the powers of the respondent (DoE) stipulated under the Delhi School Education (DSE) Act and the Rules. The court held that Delhi government has no power to indefinitely postpone the collection of annual charges and development fees by private unaided schools as it would unreasonably restrict their functioning.
The pleas on behalf of the students and that filed by DoE have also contended that the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court on Indian School, Jodhpur vs. State of Rajasthan, could not have been made applicable to Delhi, as the education laws in both states are different.