Panel for fee fixation of private schools gets statutory powers
By: Nasir Azam
Srinagar : In a significant move, the Government of India has carried out amendments in the Jammu & Kashmir School Education Act-2002 to grant statutory powers to committee for determining and regulating fee of students in private schools in the newly carved out Union Territory.
The amendments are part of “The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir Re-Organization(Adaptation of State Laws) order- 2020” issued by the Union Home Ministry on Monday.
According to the amendments, the committee shall be headed by a chairperson who has been a Judge of a High Court or a government officer who has been a financial commissioner of the Union territory or above.
“The members of the committee shall be such as may be prescribed by the government,” reads the order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir News Observer (KNO).
According to these amendments, the panel shall exercise such powers and perform such functions as may be prescribed by the government to ensure that the private schools are not indulging in commercialisation of education and undue profiteering.
“Orders passed by the committee for fixation and regulation of fee of private Schools shall be deemed to have been duly passed by a public servant and its violation or non-compliance shall amount to disobedience under the provisions of section 188 of Indian Penal Code,” the order reads.
According to the order, the private schools shall not charge any fee from the students or guardians, except tuition fee, annual fee, transport fee and voluntary special purpose fee such as the picnic, tour and excursions, etc. completely voluntary in nature or any other fee as may be approved by the committee.
The law further states that the committee for the purposes of making any inquiry or initiating any proceedings under this Act, have the same powers as are vested in a Civil Court, under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
The law imposes penalty on those found violating the orders of the fee committee. “Any person or private school which contravenes the directions of the Committee for Fixation and Regulation of Fee of Private Schools shall be liable to a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees for first offence and one lakh rupees for every subsequent offence including recommendation for disaffiliation of such private school by the said committee,” it reads— (KNO).