The Delhi government told the Delhi High Court that it was ready to take over the management of 449 private schools in the city. These schools, the government alleged, have failed to follow the recommendations of the Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee and refund the 'excess fees' they had charged to the parents of the pupils.
The Directorate of Education filed an affidavit at the Delhi High Court saying the government has sent show cause notices to these schools. The schools are required to come up with a satisfactory response within two weeks, else, the government will take over the management of these schools.
Hindustan Times quotes from the affidavit: "The department has already processed the proposal to issue show cause notices for taking over the management of schools under section 20 read with section 24(4)(c) of the Delhi School Education Act, 2009 and placed it before the Lieutenant Governor, being the competent authority, for approval...."
The Justice Anil Dev Singh Committee For Review Of School Fee was set up following directions of the Delhi High Court. The committee was supposed to review fee structures of schools in Delhi and came out with a series of interim reports in 2016. In a couple of these reports, the committee had suggested that schools return the excess fees they had charged to the parents with a 9 percent interest on the amount.
The Indian Express reports: "Of the 544 schools, 469 were asked to refund the money while 75 schools were inspected and then asked to refund the money. Sixty-seven schools challenged the committee's recommendations, of which 17 cases are being heard in court."
The article states that the government made this move after a Delhi-based NGO filed a petition alleging that the Directorate of Education has failed to implement the recommendations of the committee.
The Times of India reports that among the schools the government intends to take over, some are the popular ones where the city's rich and the famous like sending their children to. "The list of 449 schools furnished to the court includes the names of DPS (Mathura Road), Springdales (Pusa Road), Sanskriti, Modern (Barakhamba Road) and Amity International (Saket)," the report states.
AAP's Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia, told The Indian Express that they have already sent a file comprising their proposal for clearance to the lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal and had no option because the schools were refusing to fall in line.
The Delhi HC, The Times of India reports, however, wasn't exactly amused by the government's proposal. One of the concerns they raised about the government's proposal was whether the Directorate of Education had even a handful of people skilled and trained to run school management bodies. If it didn't, how did it plan to execute this 'take-over' of more than 400 schools?
A bench comprising Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri wondered aloud if the government was pulling a 'bluff' or was genuinely interested in the issue.
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