Delhi High court has overruled the Delhi government’s attempt to hold back the private schools in Delhi to charge fees other than Tuition fees. In its judgment, high court has ruled that the the said order from Delhi government was only valid till the lockdown period i.e. till June 1st, 2020. Post that, since the lockdown was relaxed, the order from Delhi government doesn’t hold good once lockdown was lifted. It hence allowed the private schools to charge Annual, development fees as well but at a waiver of 15%.
What constitutes these fee components? The petitioner i.e. private unaided schools of Delhi, threw light on what all constitutes annual charges and development fees. As per the court proceedings, following are the key components:
Annual Charges relates to the following expenses:
1. Hostel running expenses
2. Administrative & General Expenses
3. Rents, rates and taxes
4. Communication Expenses
5. Printing & Stationery
6. Electricity & Water charges
7. Travelling & Conveyance
8. Expenses of teaching & non teaching staff
9. Insurance charges
11.Remuneration of Auditors (including expenses reimbursed)
12.Repairs & maintenance of Building
14.Financial expenses such as interest on loans, loss on sale of
fixed assets & investments
15.Other expenses – Write offs and provisions
Development Fees pertains to expenditure related to the following:
1. Furniture, Benches
2. Chairs, Wall paneling, Green/Black Boards
5. Smart Boards/ Touch Panels in classes
6. Water Coolers
7. Air conditioners
8. RO water treatment plant
9. Overhauling of electrical
10.Panels, switches, MCB’s
11.Fire safety equipments
12.Fans and lights
13.Changing / repairing of doors and windows
What court felt? Taking cognizance of above cost heads, court observed that it cannot be said that the school building is completely shut.
The building would remain functional for administrative reasons and even, depending on facts and circumstances of the case, for conducting online classes, etc. Hence, the annual charges and development fees is still valid. Having said that, it observed that the expenses under some of the heads will drop in the
absence of actual full physical opening of the schools, namely, expenses like, electricity, water, stationery, etc. Hence, it asked school to waive off 15% of annual charges and development fees.
What is in it for private schools? An important ruling in favor of private schools was that the schools can charge admission charges and development fees on pro-rata basis retrospectively i.e. from date lockdown was lifted in 2020 to the day it was again invoked in 2021. Schools can continue to charge fees AS-IS on monthly basis.
What is in it for parents? An important ruling in favor of private schools was that the schools have to give 15% waiver and the schools cant debar student from classes or sitting in exams if parent has a proven reason towards inability of school fee payment.
Complete ruling where Delhi schools allowed to charge Annual Development fees is given below:
(i) The appellants (school Management of the concerned private unaided school) shall collect annual school fees from their students as fixed under the Act of 2016 for the academic year 2019-20, but by providing deduction of 15 per cent on that amount in lieu of unutilised facilities by the students during the relevant period of academic year 2020-21.
(ii) The amount so payable by the concerned students be paid in six equal monthly instalments before 05.08.2021 as noted in our order dated 08.02.2021.
(iii) Regardless of the above, it will be open to the appellants (concerned schools) to give further concession to their students or to evolve a different pattern for giving concession over and above those noted in clauses (i) and (ii) above.
(iv) The school Management shall not debar any student from attending either online classes or physical classes on account of non-payment of fees,
arrears/ outstanding fees including the installments, referred to above, and shall not withhold the results of the examinations of any student on that account.
(v) If any individual request is made by the parent/ward finding it difficult to remit annual fees for the academic year 2020-21 in the above terms, the school
Management to consider such representation on case-tocase basis sympathetically.
(vi) The above arrangement will not affect collection of fees for the academic year 2021-22, as is payable by students of the concerned school as and when it becomes due and payable.
(vii) The school Management shall not withhold the name of any student/candidate for the ensuring Board examinations for Classes X and XII on the ground of nonpayment of fee/arrears for the academic year 2020-21, if any, on obtaining undertaking of the concerned parents/students.”
The complete order via which Delhi schools allowed to charge Annual Development fees is given here http://126.96.36.199/jupload/dhc/JAN/judgement/31-05-2021/JAN31052021CW75262020_105144.pdf
This is the second ruling of importance after Supreme court’s ruling asking Rajasthan schools to offer 15% waiver on all heads to parents.Last updated: June 1, 2021 at 11:23 am