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Independent Schools' Association Chandigarh & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. - (High Court of Punjab and Haryana) (29 May 2021)

Uploading of financial statements by private educational institutions would not amount to breach of their Right to Privacy



The challenge in the present petition is restricted to the modifications carried out by Central Governmet while extending the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Unaided Educational Institution Act, 2016 to the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Firstly, the petitioners have sought quashing of Section 87 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966 being ultra vires the Constitution of India. Secondly, the petitioners are seeking quashing of the notification dated 13.4.2018 in totality, vide which the Central Government has extended the 2016 Act to Union Territory of Chandigarh with modifications, being ultra-vires the Constitution of India.

The facts are such that the Central Government while exercising the powers conferred by Section 87 of the Punjab Re-organisation Act, 1966, and while extending the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Unaided Educational Institution Act, 2016 to the Union Territory of Chandigarh has incorporated Clause (a) of the 4th proviso to Section 5 of the 2016 Act, vide which an obligation has been casted upon the private unaided educational institutions to upload income and expenditure accounts and balance sheets on the website which has led to a furor amongst the private institutions.

The education as held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in TMA Pai foundation versus State of Karnataka, 2002, is a charitable occupation. The right of privacy is primarily for the individuals. Though the right of privacy is also available to artificial entities but since the field of education is a charitable occupation, we do not find any reason to hold that uploading of the financial statements on the websites of the private educational institutions in any manner will breach the right of privacy. This is being held while keeping in mind the fact that the benefits of upload will outweigh the alleged difficulties to be faced by the institutes.

Therefore, if the financial statement of the private institutions is uploaded on the website of the institutes, the same will ensure in maintaining transparency and will be an aid in achieving the goal of ensuring that no Institute is indulging in profiteering and charging of capitation fee.

Therefore, the Clause (a) of 4 th proviso to Section 5 of the 2016 Act being incidental to the purpose of transparency and accountability to be achieved by the promulgation of 2016.


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