Pointing to the absence of any Central Act or other statutory body to regulate the fee structure in CBSE schools, Madras High Court ruled that state government has the "bounden duty" to see the fee collected by these schools are commensurate with the facilities provided and see that they do not indulge in "profiteering" or charging capitation fees.
Disposing of a batch of petitions, a division bench, comprising Justices R Banumathi and R Subbiah, in a common order said, "there has to be a mechanism to check the private schools from charging exorbitant fees."
A batch of petitions by schools across Tamil Nadu recognised under CBSE/ICSE regulations had challenged the applicability of Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009 (Tamil Nadu Schools Fee Act, 2009) to CBSE/ICSE Schools and the fee determined by School Fee Determination Committee on the ground that it is vitiated by arbitrariness.
The court also held that CBSE schools and ICSE schools are "private schools" within the meaning of Section 2 (j) of Tamil Nadu Schools (Regulation of Collection of Fee) Act, 2009 and the provisions of the same are applicable to both categories.
Holding that the ultimate object of the T N Schools Fee Act, 2009 was to regulate the collection of fee by schools in Tamil Nadu, it said, "Excluding the CBSE Schools and ICSE Schools from the ambit of the Act would defeat the object of the Act."
Under Section 7 of the said Act, the Committee has the power to determine the fee and verify whether the fee collected by CBSE schools was commensurate with the facilities provided, the bench said.