Gurgaon school issues defamation threat for protesting fee hike, say parents

A Gurgaon school has slapped a Rs 20-lakh defamation lawsuit on a group of parents for taking their protest against the fee hike to the Web, through a Google groups forum.

Scottish High International School's decision comes over a month after the Delhi High Court's July 10 order that restrained the parents' forum from "using or advertising any Web-based group or email address under the name http://groups.google.co.in/group/scottishparents".

The court also asked the parents against calling their forum Scottish International School Parents' Association.

Reacting to the school taking objection to their forum, Vinay Prakash, a Gurgaon resident whose child studies in Nursery, asked, "What is wrong if we call our association Scottish International School Parents' Association when our children study in that school? Schools be they private or government are public institutions and have to be responsible to the society; they can't run like shops."

He said the forum was a means to protest the "unfair and fraudulent ways of fleecing parents by charging fees under false heads". As a result, he said, the school authorities are now harassing these parents with threats of criminal cases for defamation.

"The parents have been sent legal notices, and I am worried for my child," he added.

The parents' association also claimed lack of transparency in the accounting process. They said invoices were earlier made in the name of 'Scottish High' but are now being made in the name of Ruptech Educational. The invoices also do not have break-up of free structure now. Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said the attrition rate of teachers make it difficult for children to adjust in the middle of a session.

School principal Sudha Goel and chairman Kartike Saini were not available for comments despite repeated attempts. Shamila Das, school coordinator (admissions), said, "It is a sub judice matter and I would not want to comment."

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