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Karnataka HC: Government cant prescribe fee norms to private unaided schools

January 6, 2023

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday held that the government cannot prescribe fee norms to private unaided schools across the state. 

This came after the Associated Management of Private Schools in Karnataka apart from several groups of schools approached the high court seeking intervention against the government taking a call on its fee. 
 
The court also deemed several sections of the Karnataka Education Act, 2017 inapplicable and unconstitutional. Efficiently, section 48 which talks about the collection and utilisation of fee by private schools has been struck down. 
 
Private schools had claimed that the sections of the Karnataka Education Act 2017 were against the basic premise of several previous verdicts of the Apex court which reserves the right of fee decision with the private schools themselves.
 
Unaided private schools had opposed the constitution of this committee citing that they were harassed in the name of the overseeing committee. 
 
“The High Court has also held that that Rules which barred the private unaided Schools from collecting term fees and Special Development Fees under Rule 10(3)(a)(i) and Rule 10(3)(c) of the Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation and Prescription of Curricula etc) Rules, 1995 are not applicable to private unaided Schools.
 
“The Court also also held that the entire Rule which dealt with “Fee in unaided private educational institutions” i.e. Rule 4 and Rule 7 which prescribed fine for violation of the Rules as not applicable to private unaided Schools,” D Shashi Kumar, general secretary, KAMS said in a note. 
 
Among the provisions struck down by Justice ES Indiresh include:
  • Section 2 (11A) under which District Education Regulatory Authority is created to monitor fee charged by the Educational Institutions. The Section reads 2(11A) “District Education Regulatory Authority” means an authority constituted under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner of a district with composition, role, functions and powers as may be prescribed by rules.
  • Section 5A which imposed measures for the safety and security of the children. The Section reads 5A. Safety and security of students.- Every educational institution and an employee of such educational institutions shall take such measures to ensure safety and security of students including protection from sexual offences, in the manner as may be prescribed.
  • Sections 112A which made contravention of Section 5A as penal in nature. The Section reads. – 112A. Penalty for contravention of section 5A:
    • (1) Any employee or member of the management of an educational institution who contravenes section 5A shall on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a minimum term of six months and with a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees.
    • (2) Whenever any educational institution is found to be in contravention of section 5A in an enquiry conducted, after giving an opportunity of being heard, by the District Education Regulatory Authority, it shall impose a penalty which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
    • (3) The District Education Regulatory Authority after such enquiry has found that any educational institution has contravened the provisions of section 5A shall also recommend to the competent authority or concerned authority for withdrawal of recognition or affiliation to such institution.

Also read: Karnataka: Fees order outrage

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