Jammu and Kashmir: Fee committee bans private schools from charging huge money

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On Thursday, the Jammu and Kashmir Committee for Fixation and Regulation of Fees of Private Schools (FFRC) prohibited educational institutions from demanding significant amounts as a security deposit, refundable fund, or admission fee. The majority of parents, who make up a voiceless class, give in to the “illegal, unethical, and immoral demands” of the “few big” school management, according to FFRC chairperson Justice (retd) Muzaffar Hussain Attar.

The FFRC decision was issued in response to accusations that the administrations of various schools were reportedly demanding large sums of money from students or parents under the guise of a security deposit, refundable fund, or occasionally even an admission fee. The FFRC chairperson issued an order stating that “in the times of unequal bargaining positions, few school managements are taking undue advantage of their higher bargaining positions by allegedly asking the students for payment of huge amounts in the name of the security deposit, refundable fund, and in some cases as well as admission fee.”

Adopting this most unfair practice could seriously harm society’s social fabric. “Some people, among those, who pay significant sums at the time of their wards’ entrance to these few schools, must be organising such money through illicit methods, the order added. On the one hand, the offspring of weaker mortals lose the potential to compete in an otherwise tough environment. According to the FFRC, education has been utilised as a tool to foster and instil moral ideals in people since the dawn of time. Unfortunately, a small number of people “suffering from incurable sickness of ravenous greed are undermining” society’s moral norms.

“Illegal money is generated and pumped into the market which has the potential of adversely affecting the economic health of the state,” it said.

According to the FFRC, the state has passed legislation to prevent the commercialization of education and to protect this admirable goal from many harmful assaults. The order stated that because of the legal situation, “schools, more specifically those few big schools who are demanding money from the parents beyond the fee… are restrained and prohibited from charging and collecting fee beyond the fee prescribed by Section – 20 E (1), more particularly are restrained and prohibited from charging and collecting money from the parents/students in the name of security deposits, refundable fee, or money by whatever name called.”

The FFRC requested that schools “immediately restore such money to the parents/students” who had paid fees that were in excess of what was required. According to Justice (ret.) Attar, “Parents who in the circumstances were compelled to pay the money above the prescribed fee are at liberty to inform FFRC by giving details about the payments made so that action is initiated and punishments given to erring school managements in accordance with law, and it is ensured that money so charged and collected is returned to parents.”

Mayank Tewari

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