The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response from the Delhi Government on a petition alleging arbitrariness in the process of fixation of fees for private unaided institutions affiliated to the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Amit Bansal issued notice on the plea filed by a Self-Financing Educational Institutions Association and slated the matter for further hearing on September 30.
Advocate Sameer Rohatgi, representing the petitioner association, informed the Bench that there is an inordinate delay on part of the Government in notifying the fee structure that could be charged by the institutions for a particular set of years. He contended that the action of implementation of the fee structure recommended for a particular period, for a subsequent set of academic years, is arbitrary and illegal.
The Bench orally asked the respondent authority to file response in the matter. “Look at the difficulty of the other side. You people are taking too much time… They are not in a position to recover the amended fee from the students,” stated the Bench.
The Directorate of Higher Education is empowered to constitute a Fee Regulatory Committee to recommend the fee structure for a given set of academic years. The said recommendation is, thereafter, mandatory to be notified by the Government in terms of Section 6 of the Delhi Professional Colleges or Institutions (Prohibition of Capitation Fee, Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Non-Exploitative Fee and other Measures to Ensure Equity and Excellence) Act, 2007. In the alternative, the recommendation could be send back to SFRC for reconsideration.
The plea, filed through Advocates Namit Suri, Purnima Singh and Shivani Malik, alleged that in complete contradiction of the said Act, despite constituting a SFRC for a particular set of years, the Government has neither notified the recommendations, nor sent back the recommendations for reconsideration.
On the other hand, time and again, the Government has misused the provisions of the Act by extending the fee structure for the period for which the SRFC has already recommended and notified.
It further alleged that the fee structure recommended by SFRC for a particular set of years is notified for a completely different set of years, for which the SFRC was not even constituted.
In light of the above, the plea prayed for a direction to ensure that the fee structure of previous academic year for which SFRC is constituted, is not extended to future academic years. It further prayed for notification of the fee structure in a time-bound manner in terms of the decision of Delhi High Court in ‘Shanker Doon vs State of NCT of Delhi’.
The plea stated,
“The said action of the Respondent of repeatedly notifying the said notifications for the academic years which were never within the contemplation of the said State Fee Regulatory Committee and were rather constituted only to review the fee structure for the specific set of academic years, is wholly arbitrary, ultra vires the said Act and amounts to overreaching and exceeding/transcending its jurisdiction vested within the said Act.”