Chilling Decision: Delhi High Court Upholds Private School’s Right to AC Fees

The Delhi High Court recently ruled on the case of Manish Goel v. Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors, where it dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition aimed at halting a private school from imposing fees for air conditioning (AC) services in classrooms. 

Court’s Ruling

Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, comprising a Division Bench, declined the petition. They underscored that the expenses associated with AC facilities in schools should be shouldered by parents, likening it to other school charges like laboratory fees and fees for smart classes. The Court emphasized the importance for parents to consider the facilities and their associated costs when choosing a school, stating that the financial responsibility for such amenities cannot be solely imposed on school management.

DoE’s Involvement

Additionally, the Court highlighted that the Department of Education (DoE) is actively addressing the issue and is awaiting the action taken report. Consequently, the Bench concluded that they are disinclined to pursue the current PIL and have dismissed it accordingly.

Petitioner’s Allegation

The PIL was initiated by Manish Goel, who claimed that a private school in Delhi, attended by his child, imposed a monthly fee of ₹2,000 for AC usage. Goel contended that it is the responsibility of the school administration to furnish AC facilities for students, and such amenities should be covered by the school’s own financial resources.

Court’s Analysis

The DoE informed the Court that it’s investigating the matter based on complaints and awaiting a report. The Bench found the petition lacking merit, hence not maintainable, noting that the school’s fee receipt showed charges for air conditioning, presumably approved by the DoE. Given the petitioner’s acknowledgment of the AC facility, the Bench saw no irregularity in the school’s fees.

In summary, the Delhi High Court’s ruling reinforces the principle that parents should bear the costs of additional facilities provided by private schools, including air conditioning services.

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About the Author: Payal Singh