The Delhi Government on Monday ordered the sealing of two branches of a private school in the national capital over violation of fee norms during the Coronavirus lockdown and lodging of an FIR against the management or operating heads of the schools. Following the directive, two branches of Apeejay School -- in Sheikh Sarai's Panchsheel Park and Saket -- were sealed on Monday.
Taking to Twitter, AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj shared pictures of the schools being sealed and wrote that APEEJAY school had been violating all kinds of norms of Healthy Education system. "In spite of audits showing crores of surplus money in accounts, it was illegally arm twisting parents for an increased fee. Today two of its schools have been sealed," he added.
APEEJAY school had been voilating all kinds of norms of Healthy Education system.— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) May 4, 2020
Inspite of audits showing crores of surplus money in accounts, it was illegally arm twisting parents for increased fee.
Today two of its schools have been sealed. pic.twitter.com/MWZlZEa1vB
In another tweet, he said, "Much appreciated the action of sealing by DM, South and Dept of Education It was the same school against whom reports were laid down by Petitions Committee of Delhi Legislative Assembly."
The school principals, however, denied the charge saying they were on the right side of the law. According to officials of the Directorate of Education (DoE), the schools were issued show-cause notice after it came to light that they have increased the fee illegally without taking cognisance of the prevailing situation in view of the announcement of lockdown by the central government.
"The Delhi government has permitted to lodge an FIR and seal school buildings for such inhuman act being committed by school managements in prevailing situation of such social emergency," a DoE official said.
"Flouting the instructions, the schools have hiked the fees despite the enforcement of Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 regulations, 2020, under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897, for prevention and containment of COVID-19 and also without compliance of the mandatory provisions of Delhi Education Act, 1973," he added.
Responding to the allegations, the Apeejay school management said, "We are on the right side of the law and interests of our students are paramount".
The principal of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, said, "Regarding fee, all actions of our school are in conformity with communications received from the Directorate of Education. We have all requisite approvals from DOE to charge AY 2019-20 fee. We have certainly not forced or harassed our parents to pay the fee. In fact, we held out a helping hand to those in need, with scholarships. Almost 100% parents of Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park have paid the AY 2019-20 fee, voluntarily and the majority have also paid the present monthly tuition fee".
According to the Principal of the Saket branch, "Almost all parents are with us and understand the situation. Only a handful of parents have been complaining, motivated by vested interests. Unfortunately, the current Force Majeure situation has again promoted them to agitate on the fee issue".
(With PTI inputs)