The CBSE has been in the Keralite high court’s radar.The Kerala High Court, hearing a batch of written petitions challenging unreasonable fees paid by CBSE-affiliated schools in the State in the midst of the pandemic, berated the Board for its “helplessness” in enforcing the previous school fee directives of the Court. The Court had previously instructed the CBSE to check that by reviewing the accounts given by them, its affiliate schools were charging fees equal to expenditure. In reply, the Board told the Court that it was not in a position to check the schools’ income and expeditation. Devan Ramachandran, the Single Judge Bench of Justice, noted that the CBSE had not explained why it was unable to do the requisite verification.
Thus, it has now come to pass that the CBSE seems to be absolutely washing their hands off the problem at hand and putting it directly on the shoulders of the Government of Kerala.
Terming the ‘distressing’ and ‘unfortunate’ situation of the CBSE, Justice Ramachandran has now asked the State Government to respond to how it intended to ensure that fees received by state schools were proportionate to expenditure.Senior Government Leader Nisha Bose argued that a Directive dated 2 December 2020 ordering all schools in the State not to charge fees in excess of expenditure had been released by the State Government.The Court asked the State to direct the government’s counsel to seek guidance on how it was planning to enforce its circular, as to:
Whether a designated Authority will investigate concerns about excessive fees in the State Education Department and,If it is possible to check and scrutinize
“I do not require the CBSE to now issue any further circular since even if they do so, they themselves admit that they are powerless to enforce the same. I do not, therefore, want the CBSE to do something which is nothing but an empty formality, wasting precious resources and nothing more.” stated the judge.
The petitioners before the Court were required to remit the first term fees “as a final indulgence” by the next date of the hearing.In view of its earlier order requiring the petitioners to remit the amounts by 20 November, the Court described that direction as an indulgence.The question, which initially started as action against individual schools by each petitioner, now consists of 17 petitions challenging exorbitant rates paid by school fees.The Court censured a certain school in one of the previous hearings of the case for charging a ‘celebration and miscellaneous charge’ in the midst of the pandemic.The school’s lawyer, when asked to explain this head of fee, submitted that the fee was used for funding virtual Onam celebrations for school students.Justice Ramachandran, expressing dissatisfaction, ordered the school to restrict its fee levies to expenditures currently incurred and send the fee heads to its comprehensive description.
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