The Supreme Court (SC) has cut down the powers of the Tamil Nadu’s private school fee fixation committee in determining and regulating fee structures in ICSE and CBSE schools in the state. An interim order passed by the Court on January 28 implies that fee fixation will be left to individual ICSE and CBSE schools and will not be under the control of the committee.
The order states that the powers of the committee will be limited only to verify the fee collected by schools and to check if it is commensurate with the facilities provided, hearing complaints with regard to excess fee collection and recommending of disaffiliation of the school to the CBSE board in case it charges extra fee.
Under the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fees) Act, 2009, the Committee has the powers to determine the fee to be collected by all private schools. Each private school has to place the proposed fee structure with relevant documents and books of accounts before the committee. It also has the authority to verify if the fee proposed by the private school was justified and ensure it did not lead to profiteering besides approving the proposed fee or determining an alternate one.
The interim order states, “In modification and super session of our interim order dated January 15, 2015, we direct that for ICSE and CBSE schools, the regulatory mechanism of the Fee Committee shall be limited (during the pendency of the present controversy) to the one contemplated under Section 7(3) of the Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fees) Act, 2009.”