The Allahabad High Court has upheld the constitutional validity of Uttar Pradesh Self Financed Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018 which provides for regulation of fees in self financed independent schools in the State.
The constitutional validity of the act was challenged by Diocese Of Varanasi Education Society, a minority institution on the ground that as per article 30(1) of the Constitution of India no interference in administration of minority institutions can be made by the State authorities statutorily or otherwise
Referring to TMA Pai case, the bench comprising of the Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice observed that laws made by the State to regulate the administration of educational institutions and grant of aid will apply to minority educational institutions also. But if any such regulations interfere with the overall administrative control of the management over the staff or abridges/duties, in any other manner, the right to establish and administer educational institutions, such regulations, to that extent, will be inapplicable to minority institutions, the court noted.
"We are having no doubt in arriving at the conclusion that article 30 protects the minority institutions from interference of the Government in their establishment, management and administration but that in no manner prevents the State to ensure good administration by putting checks on the eventualities giving rise to "maladministration". The right to administer educational institutions by minorities does not permit to indulge in malpractices including, commercialization of education. The State if satisfies the test of reasonableness and the test that the provision applied is regulative of educational character and is conducive to make the minority educational institutions more effective for education to the minorities then such provision is not at all hit by the right protected under Article 30 of the Constitution of India. In other words such provision is in furtherance to the right given to ensure better and brighter educational status to such institutions."
The bench said that the Act is a statutory effort to stop commercialization of education and exploitation of the students joining educational institutions including minority institutions. It said that restrictions prescribed such as no school shall, except with the prior approval from the appropriate authority, charge during the academic year any fee in excess of the fee intimated to the appropriate authority earlier and, further that no capitation fee shall be charged by such institutions, are quite reasonable. Upholding the validity of the Act, the bench dismissed the writ petition and said:
"On fair analysis of the Act of 2018, we find it a legislation to ensure easy accessibility to each and every citizen and further to expand fairness and reasonability in administration of the institutions, including minority institutions, without interference therein for broader interest of the ultimate consumer, as such we do not find any violation of Article 30(1) of the Constitution of India while introducing U.P. Self-Financed Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018."
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