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Transportation fee hike: Court directs Govt lawyer to seek instructions on suggestions from respondents 

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Srinagar: In a petition by the Private Schools Association praying that they be heard by the Fee Fixation Committee on the matter of its recent (provisional) order on transportation charges, the J&K High Court today directed the government lawyer to seek instructions on the suggestion from the respondents.

An order by the Fee Fixation Committee of the government on 9th of this March had directed the private school managements to hike the transportation fees by 12 percent of the charges as were in vogue in 2019.

Hearing a petition today by the Private Schools Association seeking a chance to be heard before any finality, Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Mohan Lal asked the additional advocate general “to seek instructions with regard to the aforesaid proposition”.

The bench directed listing of the matter on Monday “in order to enable the learned Additional Advocate General to do the needful as aforesaid”.

The petitioner Association submitted that it shall feel satisfied in the event their petition is disposed of with a direction to the Fee Fixation Committee for fixation of the transportation fee after hearing them as well.  

The Society questioned the legal validity of the orders of Fee Fixation Committee and that of Director, School Education Kashmir on the matter.

“The determination of ‘Transport Fee’ is not as per actual. The Fee has been determined without hearing the petitioner Society or any of its members. The orders are bad in law and deserve to be quashed”, it said.

The Fee regulation committee had allowed the private schools to hike transportation fees by 12% by making the 2019 as a base year.

The increase was allowed after the committee received complaints that private schools had hiked transportation fees significantly following their reopening.

“The complainant (parents) also alleged that private school managements were demanding payment of advance transport fees either for the full session or 50 per cent of the total fees. The schools also seek an undertaking from the parents regarding the advance payment of fees,” the committee said in an order.

As a temporary measure and till such time that a final decision is taken, school managements shall hike the transportation fees that was being paid by the students who were availing the transport facility in October 2019 in the winter zone and in February 2020 in the summer zone by 12 per cent, it said.

It was also resolved that no private school shall seek any undertaking from parents or students for advance tuition fees and transportation fees, “the practice being illegal and shall not be allowed,” the order stated.

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