Hyderabad HC slams private schools for charging outrageous OTF

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AP highcourt_1_0_6_0_1After hearing a PIL filed by Hyderabad Schools Parents Association (HSPA), Hyderabad High Court on July 18 slammed private schools in the city for charging an outrageous one-time fee (OTF).

Expressing concern over private schools charging upto Rs 7 lakh for admission, the division bench of acting Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale and Justice A V Sesha Sai said that its time for the government to form a regulatory body.

“If you want your people to flourish, you should start with schools and not colleges,” said the bench. “There is a need to bring in regulatory mechanism to stop this ridiculous practice of OTF,” Justice Bhosale added.

As told by Kalpana Ekbote, the counsel for the association, OTF is nothing but banned capitation fee, now introduced with a new name. Even the state counsel A Sanjeev Kumar’s survey revealed that 160 schools in Hyderabad demand OTF from Rs.50,000 to Rs.3 lakh.

Don’t justify your conduct,” the CJ said brushing aside the justifications made by the counsel for Hyderabad Public School that they are raising fee only to pay UGC scales to their teachers. He wondered how can a lower middle class family afford such huge fee.

Another counsel for the HSPA, S Niranjan Reddy, told the court that some schools were collecting the OTF in the name of constructing new buildings.

However, he even said that some of the best schools, running with a non-profit motive, are not collecting more than Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 per annum. He said stressing the point that quality need not be always accompanied by high tuition fees.

Even HPS is collecting lesser fee”, he added.

Meanwhile, the court was informed by the Telangana additional advocate general Ramachandra Rao that the government will introduce a foolproof KG to PG education policy that will solve the issues. “Earlier, during the period of united AP, liquor lobbies were running the schools,” he added.

The idea of forming a government committee to oversee fee structure was opposed by the HPS counsel L Ravichander saying that it was under the aegis of such panels that 4,000 government schools were closed.

Responding to proposals that if the state allots land in prime localities and supporting the efforts of many groups of professionals and good managements, Justice Bhosale said, “We would welcome such efforts. We will ask the government to support such efforts. Let good teachers come forward.

The court posted the case till July 25 and invited suggestions to improve things.