New Delhi: The city government was Wednesday asked by the Delhi High Court to respond to a plea accusing a private school of charging "excess" fees from students with physical disabilities in comparison to general students.
A bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to Delhi government`s Directorate of Education and also to private school Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Mehta Vidyalaya and sought their replies by November 21.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by civil rights society Social Jurists through its counsel Ashok Agarwal. The PIL alleged that Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Mehta Vidyalaya on Kasturba Gandhi Marg has been charging over 38 per cent extra fee from students with disabilities in comparison to the general ones.
The petition has sought court`s directions to the school to forthwith stop charging higher fee from disabled students and refund the excess fees charged in past three years.
According to the plea, the school has nearly 80 students with disabilities and the fee being charged from them is even higher than the maximum fee charged by the school from class XII general students.
"The students with disabilities are charged fee and other charges between 38 to 39 percent higher than what is charged from general students in the academic year 2012-2013.
"A Class IV student with disabilities is charged tuition fee of Rs 44,640 and the general students of the same class is charged tuition fee of Rs 32,160 during 2012-2013, which is 38 percent (Rs 12,480) higher in case of students with disabilities compared to general students," the PIL has said.
The PIL has also cited a recent Delhi High Court order directing all unaided private schools to appoint two special educators each for the education of children with disabilities, and said, "The school has no justification at all to charge higher fees from students with disabilities when every school is bound by the law to employ special educators even if there are no students with disabilities enrolled."
It has also submitted that the action on the part of the school is "totally illegal, unjust, violative of fundamental rights" guaranteed under the Indian Constitution and also the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, besides "violative" of the provisions of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.