To prevent private schools from charging exorbitant fees in absence of clear laws, the Gujarat government on Saturday announced to bring a Bill providing for constitution of a Fee Regulatory Committee.
“The Gujarat Self-Financed Schools (Regulation of Fees) Bill, 2017” will be tabled for discussion and voting in the last two days of the ongoing Budget session, ending March 31,” Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told reporters in Gandhinagar.
The Bill empowers the state government to constitute a Fee Regulatory Committee “for the purpose of determination of fee for admission to any standard or course of study in self financed schools.”
This committee will be headed by a Chairman, who can be either a retired district and sessions judge or a retired IPS or All India Services officer.
Other members to be nominated by the government include a Chartered Accountant, a civil engineer or an approved government valuer, representative of private school management and one academician.
The committee will have jurisdiction over all the private schools, right from pre-primary to higher secondary private schools affiliated to Gujarat Board or CBSE.
Each and every private school will be required to submit their fee structure before the panel and take approval.
The committee will also have the powers to initiate inquiry suo moto against any school which is found to be charging excess fees.
As per the Bill, aggrieved persons can also register their complaints against a private school.
The Committee shall have powers “to regulate the fees charged by the school and take penal action as per the provisions of this Act” said the Bill.
Penal action include refund of twice the amount of fees to parents, up to Rs 5 lakh fine for first offence, Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh fine for second offence and cancellation of registration or affiliation of the school for the third offence.
The Bill also provides for the constitution of a Fee Revision Committee, to be chaired by a retired judge of the High Court.
School management can approach this committee to file a revision application if they are not happy with the order issued by Fee Regulatory Committee, said the Bill.