Private school fee regulation law constitutionally valid: Gujarat HC

AHMEDABAD: In a relief to parents of children studying in private school, the Gujarat High Court today said the state government’s law to regulate fees was constitutionally valid. Rejecting around 40 petitions opposing it, a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi upheld the Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act, 2017. The court ruled that state legislature is competent and has the authority to form laws for state boards, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).

The High Court rejected the contention of the CBSE and minority schools which had said that the state government cannot regulate them.

The Gujarat Self Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act came into force in April this year after Governor O P Kohli gave his assent to the said Bill on April 12.

The Bill was introduced by the BJP government in the last budget session with an aim to control the “exorbitant fees” charged by private schools “in the absence of a clear law” regarding it.

The fee structure prescribed in the Act for primary, secondary and higher secondary school is Rs. 15,000, Rs. 25,000 and Rs. 27,000 per year, respectively.

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As per the rules of the Bill, all private schools, which want to charge fees more than what has been prescribed, need to submit their proposal with the fee regulatory committee before imposing any hike.

The Act provides for establishment of four such committees in four zones, having their headquarters at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot.

The managements of various private, minority, CBSE and ICSE schools had approached the court against the law, saying it was not in accordance with the Constitution and should be scrapped.