JAMMU, Oct 29: In a significant development, the Government appointed Committee for Fixation of Fee Structure of Private Educational Institutions of J&K State has directed that increase in tuition fee shall not exceed eight percent of the same as was applicable in August 2014 and this shall remain applicable for the next three years.
The increase shall be effective from the ensuing academic session in the concerned province and if any school has already enhanced its fee structure since August 2014, it shall slash it down immediately as per rules and orders.
In its order, the empowered Committee has further maintained that while fixing or increasing tuition fee, the guidelines laid down by the Apex Court should be kept in view by Educational Institutions, which can not indulge in profiteering and also can not charge capitation fee.
The Committee was approached two months back by the Government to examine the fee enhancement issue following a Division Bench of the J&K High Court’s order, dated 21-08-2017 in case titled Tyndale Biscoe & Mallinson School Vs State of J&K & Others (OWP No 577 of 2017), observed that the State Government may frame a policy of increasing the fee by a certain percentage amount across the board depending on certain criteria, such as rate of inflation etc.
The three-member Committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain, considered the matter in light of the judgement of the Apex Court and the High Court on the subject and went through the draft Act to regulate enhancement of fee structure by the Private Educational Institutions. The Committee had also gone through the Acts on the subject made by the neighbouring State like Punjab etc. Kaneez Fatima and Showkat Ahmad Peer are Members of the Committee.
To avoid delay, which generally takes place in the consideration and disposal of such cases, the Committee on consideration of the matter, made provisions for enhancement of the fee by the schools and issued the order number 106-FFC of 2017, dated 20/10/2017.
“Increase in tuition fee shall not exceed 8 percent of the tuition fee as was applicable in August 2014 and fee so increased shall be effective from the ensuing academic session in the concerned province and shall remain applicable for three years,” directs the Committee in its order.
Maintaining that no school was authorized, in terms of the High Court order, dated 01-06-2015, passed in PIL; Parents Body Vs State of J&K & Others, to enhance fee structure without the permission of the Committee, the order further directs that if any school has in violation of the High Court order enhanced its fee structure, it shall slash it down immediately as per rules and orders.
If an Educational Institution requires increase in tuition fee more than 8 percent or within the period of three years, it may approach the Committee for permission of the same along with the documents giving due reasons and grounds for the enhancement. The Committee will, as far as practicable, shall dispose of the same within 30 days.
Educational Institutions, whose prayer for enhancement of fee has earlier been disallowed by the Committee, may also make increase in their fee structure to the extent of and as laid down from the next academic session subject to the condition that such school now qualify for such enhancement in terms of the judgement of the Apex Court.
After Fixing or increasing tuition fee, an Education Institution shall submit a copy of its fee structure to the Committee for record and examination within seven days of such increase.
Special `Cells’ in the office of Chief Education Officers of the districts have been created, which are headed by the Deputy CEO concerned. These `Cells’ shall act as enforcement wings of the Committee. They have been entrusted with the job to monitor implementation of this order and the orders issued by the Committee from time to time and effectively regulate fee structure of the Private Educational Institutions.
The Committee has directed that the ‘Cells’ are required to submit monthly progress reports and other information relating to the subject.
The ‘Cells’ have also been authorized to entertain complaints from the students/parents against the schools, which violate the orders of the Court/Government/Committee issued in this behalf. On receipt of such complaints, the In-charge of the `Cell’ is required to forward the complaints to the Committee along with its report.