Parents of over 100 students, who have been at loggerheads with the VPM's International School, Airoli, over fee hike, have taken the confrontation to a new level by getting the Rabale police register a first information report against the principal and management.
The parents have alleged that their wards were denied entry to the school on November 18, 2013, when the institution had opened after Diwali vacation. They say the school deliberately targeted their children for non-payment of fees and made them wait outside for five hours on the day.
School officials said they were unaware of the FIR. The police action will disrupt the school's programmes, they said. While the children in question are continuing their studies at the school, the education department is already conducting an inquiry into the incident.
"We had complained to the police on earlier occasions, but they had refused to register an FIR. Time and again we fear that the school will target our children," said Vijay Dhawale, a parent and also the complainant.
The dispute goes back to 2012. According to the parents, VPM had hiked fees without approval from the parent-teacher association. The school on October 22, 2013 had written to the parents, warning them that their kids would not be allowed to attend classes if they failed to pay the fees by October 30.
The cops have booked principal Sandhya Soundur and the management under section of 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 34 (acts done by several persons in futherance of common intention) of the Indian penal code.
"We will conduct an investigation and record the statements before deciding our course of action," said Investigating Officer A Gawade. According to officials at the Rabale police station, they had not registered an FIR so far because of the education department probe.
The parents, however, claim that the explanation has no basis. They said they had to follow up with senior police officials to get the Rabale cops take down their complaint.
The education department, which was supposed to submit a report within 15 days of the incident is yet to do so. "We have been following up with the education department every now and then and they continue to give us excuses for not being able to complete their investigation," said Dhawale.
Principal Soundur said the police had not got in touch with them. "I fail to understand why the parents would want to file a complaint three months after the incident. We are having the annual day on Thursday and Friday. These things might just disrupt their own children's activities."