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Allahabad High Court asks Uttar Pradesh govt to consider lifting freeze on fee hike in private schools

According to counsel for the petitioners, the proposal of new/ enhanced fee structure is to be uploaded two months prior to the start of new academic session, meaning thereby that the same has to be done on or before 1st April 2022.

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to consider lifting the freeze on fee hike in private schools.

The Division Bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Narendra Kumar Johari passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Association Of Private Schools Of UP through its president Atul Kumar And Another.

Limiting the challenge and submissions only to the extent of validity of Government Order dated January 7, 2022, the counsel for the petitioners has submitted that the State Government with the issuance of Government Order dated February 11, 2022 has itself provided a justification for reconsideration of the Government Order dated January 7, 2022 impugned herein the writ petition.

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The Government Order dated January 7, 2022 amply shows that it was the apprehension of the surge of Covid19 that the State Government looking to the closure of normal business establishments/educational and other economic activities had issued the Government Order under challenge. The restrictions have now been relaxed with the issuance of Government Order dated February 11, 2022 filed along with the rejoinder affidavit. This clearly implies that normal life is restored with all duties and obligations.

According to counsel for the petitioners, the proposal of new/ enhanced fee structure is to be uploaded two months prior to the start of new academic session, meaning thereby that the same has to be done on or before April 1, 2022.

It is in the light of Government Order dated February 11, 2022 that a prayer has been made before the Court that the State Government may reconsider its decision whereby a blanket ban is imposed against the enhancement of fee contrary to the mechanism provided under the statute.

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Further submission made by counsel for the petitioner is to the effect that the reasons spelt out in the impugned Government Order dated January 7, 2022 are based on an apprehension which stand ruled out with the issuance of subsequent Government Order dated February 11, 2022, hence the very foundation of the earlier Government Order stands nullified, therefore, the matter requires reconsideration.

H.P. Srivastava, Additional Chief Standing Counsel, at this stage prayed for time to obtain instructions on this specific aspect of the matter.

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The Court noted that the State Government ought not to remain oblivious of the fact that the academic session is to start on April 1, 2022, before which date, the schedule of fee structure has to be uploaded by the members of the petitioners’ association in terms of the statute. The objections, if any, by the association of parents have also to be considered in the mechanism prescribed.

The Court expects the State to reconsider the matter in the light of Government Order dated February 11, 2022, as observed above.

The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on February 28, 2022.

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