‘Gujarat fee law valid for other boards’
AHMEDABAD: In its judgment upholding the state government's fee regulation law, Gujarat high court has said that the Gujarat Self-financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Act is applicable to schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) and other boards as there is no central law for this purpose. CBSE schools formed the biggest chunk of petitioners who had challenged the state government's law. Their contention was that as their activities are governed by the regulations of the central board, they do not fall under the purview of Gujarat state's legislation. However, the Gujarat high court did not accept this contention. The main ground why the high court rejected the CBSE schools' argument was absence of any central law which could regulate collection of fees. "There is no central act or other statutory body to regulate CBSE schools," the court said. It further added that the CBSE's bye-laws have the provision that the CBSE can disaffiliate a school if the latter is found charging excess fee. But in these bye-laws, there is no effective mechanism for regulation of collection of fee.
The high court further said that the state government had concurrent powers to legislate in the field of education. While granting affiliation to schools, CBSE seeks NOC from the state government so that there is no conflict between rules and regulations of the state government and the CBSE. The high court further observed that CBSE bye-law No 11, 13.1 and 13.3 clearly show that the state government had the power to regulate collection of fees in CBSE schools. "Thus we are of the view that the state government is competent to legislate with regard to subject of determination of fees charged by CBSE, ICSE and IB Schools," the high court order reads. "It is the bounden duty of the State to ensure that private schools do not indulge in profiteering in the name of imparting education. There has to be a mechanism to check the private schools from charging exorbitant fees," the high court said.