The Delhi High Court has said provisions of the Delhi School Education Rules which state a school cannot charge fine in excess of five paise a day for late payment of fees, does not apply to private unaided schools here.

The order was passed by a bench of justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan on a petition by the Action Committee Unaided Recognised Private School, an umbrella association of more than 500 private unaided schools in Delhi.

The petitioner had assailed a February 2013 order of the Directorate of Education (DoE) holding that in terms of rule 166 under Chapter XIII of of the Rules, a private unaided school here cannot charge any fine in excess of five paise per day on account of late payment of fees by a student.

The petitioner, represented by advocate Kamal Gupta, also sought a direction that the rules contained in Part B, which contained rules 166, of Chapter XIII of the Rules do not apply to private unaided recognised schools.

Setting aside the DoE order, the court said substantial autonomy is provided to private unaided schools in matters of fees, which is contrary to the fee imposed by the aided schools.

Private unaided schools, the court said, are free to fix their fee structure, which includes the tuition fees as well as other charges and contributions payable by the student.

“From perusal of the provisions contained in Chapter XIII of the Rules, and keeping in mind the principles of purposive interpretation as discussed above, we have no hesitation to hold that the provisions of Chapter XIII of the Rules are applicable only in relation to aided schools,” said the court in its order dated November 15.

“The order dated 11.02.2013 passed by the DoE is, accordingly, set aside,” the court said.

The court said that even though it has held that rule 166 is not applicable in relation to private unaided schools, the DoE order had mentioned that a committee has been set up for review of the provision.

It added that it expected authorities to expedite the process and make recommendations within a period of 8 weeks.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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