Mere Presence of CBSE as Respondent Not Enough to Exercise Jurisdiction Under Article 226: Delhi HC
The High Court of Delhi in Riddhima Singh (Minor) through…. v. CBSE and Ors. directed the school to promote the appellant on merits subject to the deposit of fees and charges while commenting that the presence of CBSE as a respondent is not enough to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226.
The Court gave directions to the school regarding the following:
- The petitioner child will appear in Grade VII examination, which commences from 17.2.2020.
- In case the petitioner child passes Grade VII examination, respondent No.3 school will hold Grade VIII examination for the petitioner child on 7.4.2020.
- In case the petitioner child clears Grade VIII examination, she will be upgraded to Grade IX.
Ridhima Singh through her father Shailendra Singh filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. The petitioner was studying in class 6 of the respondent – Indirapuram Public School, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The petitioner was facing issues with the new fees structure implemented from the academic year 2017-2018 onwards and on 02.04.2018, the school denied permission to the petitioner to attend classes on account of non-payment of fees which, according to the petitioner, was charged arbitrarily, without consulting the parents of the students of the school, and without offering any valid reasons.
By an order dated 27.11.2019, the Court directed the school to readmit the petitioner and to permit her to attend classes, subject to the deposit of fees and annual charges demanded by the School with the Registry of the Court. It was recorded in the order dated 23.12.2019 that, according to the school, an amount of ₹2,32,833 was due towards fees for the academic sessions 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019- 20, and that Mr. Singh had deposited an amount of ₹79,560/- as the fee for the academic session 2017-18.
Further, the court studying the implications involved when CBSE is made a party as a respondent said:
In the view that the mere presence of the CBSE as a respondent in the petition is not sufficient to enable this Court to exercise jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The Court may decline to entertain a writ petition, if it comes to the conclusion that it is not the most appropriate Court for the purpose. In arriving at such a conclusion, the Court will consider inter alia the existence of a more appropriate forum where a petitioner could effectively agitate her grievance.
The court remarked that the petitioner’s contentions regarding improper inadequate oversight by the respondent authorities implicate not just the CBSE, but even more importantly the State of Uttar Pradesh and therefore asserted that the jurisdictional High Court in Uttar Pradesh would be better equipped to redress the petitioner’s grievances.
In summary, although the court gave directions to the school to re-admit the student upon payment of fees, it additionally suggested that the petitioner approach an appropriate forum and disposed of the writ.