Nearly a month after the High Court stayed the State government’s status quo on fee hike for the ensuing academic year, deputy chief minister (education) Kadiam Srihari said he would discuss legal options with the Advocate General and education department officials.

A follow-up meeting of parents and minister to understand the future course of legal and other action by the government has been scheduled two weeks from now. In a meeting with members of Hyderabad Schools Parents Association (HSPA) at his residence on Thursday, a discussion was held on issues arising due to the stay order on the government order asking schools not to increase fees for the next academic year. It may be recalled that on January 26, when Express had spoken to the Commissioner and Director of School Education, he had said that the matter would be discussed with the Advocate General and legal angles would be explored. Almost a month later, with Srihari repeating the same, indicates that the Government has not made any progress in this issue during the intervening period.

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The minister lamented the Court giving contradictory orders. It was at the behest of the court that government investigated 162 schools and issued show cause notices. The court then stayed action on the notices. He added that latest order allowing schools to increase the fees is another stumbling block in efforts of the government to stop profiteering by private schools.

With the minister putting the onus on courts for not stopping fee loot by private schools, HSPA has pointed that weak defence put up by the government’s legal team in the courts was also responsible for the outcome. “For instance, ISMA’s (Independent Schools’ Management Association) claim that “none of the parents whose children are the pupils of the ISMA schools have any complaint against reasonable increase of 10 to 15% of fee” was false, but the government counsel failed to raise the issue,” said Seema Agarwal, a representative.

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The association also gave examples of how Delhi and Gujarat governments were successful in getting the petitions by schools dismissed in courts. “In contrast, the TS government has failed to get even simple stay orders vacated in courts for years. It is ironical that the minister has asked HSPA to fight it out in courts,” said Ashish Naredi, another member, and added that HSPA would continue to fight and would soon file an appeal against the High Court order. #KhabarLive

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