Delhi High Court: Parents Must Bear Cost Of Air Conditioning In Schools

New Delhi: As the Indian summer heats up and torments people of all ages, there’s no relief for parents who are worried about the costs of providing comfort to their schoolgoing children.

The Delhi High Court recently dismissed a petition challenging a private school’s right to charge for air conditioning in classrooms.

“The cost for providing air conditioning services to the school children has to be borne by the parents,” the court said in its May 2 order.

Manish Goel had argued in his petition that the Rs 2,000 monthly fee being charged for AC by Maharaja Agrasain Public School was unreasonable, and urged Directorate of Education (DoE) to intervene.

He stated that the obligation to provide air conditioning facilities in classrooms is on the school management.

He contended that levying this charge on students is contrary to Rule 154 of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, and the petitioner should not be charged with the liability to pay the cost.

Disagreeing with that argument, a two-judge bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora compared the AC fee to other charges levied by schools.

“The air conditioning facility is no different from other charges such as lab and smart class fee levied by the schools,” the high court said.

“The financial burden of providing such facilities cannot be fastened on the school management alone, parents must also be mindful of the facilities and the cost of the facilities provided to their children,” when choosing a school, the court stated.

The DoE told the court that Delhi government is examining the issue and had sought an action taken report following multiple complaints.

After considering the submissions, the court dismissed the petition as it was not maintainable.

“The Annexure P-2 filed with this petition is the Fee Receipt issued by Respondent No. 5 School for the session 2023-24 and it duly records the entry of charges for air-conditioner. There is thus, a presumption that the said charges have been raised after apprising the DoE of the fee and charge schedule. In view of the admission of the Petitioner that the facility of air conditioning is being provided to the students in the classrooms, prima facie, there is no irregularity in the charge levied by the School,” the court said.

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