Srinagar: The Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) of private schools in Jammu and Kashmir has censured the private schools for overcharging of tuition fees and has barred all the schools from giving a unilateral hike in the tuition fees of school-going children.
The Chairman FFRC, Justice (Redt) Sunil Hali in a fresh order has stated that the committee was receiving complaints that private schools in J&K were charging fees in excess of the fee approved by the committee.
"Complaints have been received that schools are making unilateral hikes in the fee structure at exorbitant rates and charging admission fees from students and parents, which is not permitted by the statute," the order reads.
Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, the FFRC chairman in his order has stated that all the educational institutions have their proposed fee structure before the committee, well in advance of the academic year, for scrutiny.
"The committee shall then decide whether the proposed fees are justified or constitute profiteering or capitation fees. Once the committee approves the fee structure, the institute cannot charge any other amount over and above the amount fixed as fees," the order reads.
It reads that any other amount charged under any other head or guise would amount to charging of capitation fee.
“The J&K government notified the Jammu and Kashmir Private Schools (Fixation, Determination and Regulation of Fee) Rules, 2022, on May 10, 2022. Rule 5(1)(c) of the rules provides that each private school must place its proposed fee structure with all relevant documents and books of accounts before the committee for scrutiny by the specified date," the order reads.
It reads that Rule 8(a) provides that the private school should submit a proposal for fee fixation, determination, and regulation to the committee three months before the next academic year starts.
"No private school association or individual school is competent to make any hike in any kind of fee charged by the school without the permission of the committee," it reads.
The FFRC chairman has impressed upon all the private schools of J&K not to make any unilateral hike in any kind of fee without the committee's permission.
"All the private schools should adhere to the fee structure approved by the committee. Parents and school managements are at liberty to approach the committee for grievance redressal regarding the fee structure," the order reads.
It states that any violation of the rules would attract action in terms of Rule 8d(i) and (ii), which may include the imposition of a fine equivalent to 10 percent of total revenue generated by the private school in the preceding year or the withdrawal of permission and recognition of the school as per the procedure laid down.
"The committee may also recommend taking over the management of the private school until it submits a proposal, and an administrator not below the rank of Sub-Divisional Magistrate will be appointed to ensure its smooth functioning at the cost of schools funds during this period," it reads.
In a separate order, the FFRC chairman directed all the private schools to submit their fee structure proposals for approval of the committee.
The order reads that private schools were earlier ordered to submit their proposals in January 2021 but the date was extended following requests from individual schools and associations.
“All the private schools should submit their fee fixation and regulation files for the upcoming academic sessions, along with all requisite documents and audited accounts of the last three years. Schools which already have an approved fee structure for the 2023-24 academic year need not apply and should adhere to the approved fee structure," the order reads.
The order reads that the failure to submit the requisite information would attract action in terms of Rule 8(d)(i) and (ii).