No fee hike in private schools: Odisha HC

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Monday said all private schools in the state, including the English medium institutions, should abide by the provisions of Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 and coming under Orissa Education (OE) Act.

The state government had in April 2009 allowed the English medium schools to increase their school fees by 25 per cent and their development fees by 15 per cent.

Delivering a verdict pertaining to DAV school fee hike case, a single-judge bench of Justice M M Das said all the private schools in the state, including the English medium ones, are under the purview of Orissa Education Act, thereby refusing to accept the contention of DAV school management that they do not come under the OE Act.

The high court also directed the state to form a high-level committee under the head of Director, School and Mass Education, within four months to look into the fee structure of all private schools.

"The private schools wishing to make any change in their fee structure shall apply to the committee which, in turn, shall dispose off the applications within 90 days," the HC said.

In last April, the court had reserved the verdict after completion of hearing.

The judge thus struck down the earlier notification of the DAV management asserting that the schools should continue with their fee structure of 2008-09 academic year.

The decision of the state and subsequent fee hike notification of DAV school management was challenged in Orissa High Court by Parents Association of Cuttack-based DAV school terming these (fee hike) "uncalled for, unilateral and arbitrary."