A High Court bench issued a show cause notice to the managing societies of three schools asking why it should not order appropriate action against them, following a petition challenging their change of name mid-year from Presidium to Prudence.
In mid-November, The Indian Express had reported that three schools under the prominent Presidium franchise informed parents that they had chosen to disassociate from it due to financial irregularities. They stated that they would be known as ‘Prudence’ schools under the chairmanship of G S Matharoo, who was part of the management team of Presidium group.
A bench of Justice C Hari Shankar heard a petition by a group of parents, whose children study in the Dwarka Sector-22 branch of Prudence. The plea alleged the name change was done without following due process and that it jeopardised the future of students by running the risk of de-recognition by CBSE.
The parents have petitioned against the management societies of all three schools — in Ashok Vihar, Dwarka Sector 16 and Dwarka Sector 22 — stating that the name change had been affected in the middle of the academic year without prior notification or consultation with them.
In November, Education Minister Manish Sisodia had told The Indian Express that while a school cannot be compelled to remain part of a franchise, it requires government approval to do so and that no prior application had been received from the three schools.
The Prudence schools are now operating with a new logo, signboards, ID cards and uniforms. According to Matharoo, the change was instituted keeping the best interests of students in mind. He said the schools would file their response in court: “Only the name has been changed, which was done through unanimous resolutions of all three managing societies due to financial malpractices by Presidium. Everything else remains the same… We submitted our proposal for name change to the Directorate of Education soon after the circular was sent to parents, and the proposal is currently being processed.”
The court re-notified the matter for February 2019, and gave the respondents four weeks to file a counter affidavit.
“We are examining the legal aspects of both the proposal and parents’ complaints… and the validity and precedent for post-facto approval in such cases,” said Director of Education Sanjay Goel.