Source: Litigation News
The directive to the private unaided schools unable to provide online classes should not charge fees from the students is discriminatory and arbitrary, said the High Court.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today held that all the schools irrespective of providing online classes shall be entitled to collect fees for the time period in which schools are shut.
Justice Nirmaljit Kaur, however, added that schools should continue to endeavour and impart online/distance learning so that education is not adversely impacted due to the present or future lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19.
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The Court on Tuesday issued the following directions concerning levying of school fees:
- Schools are permitted to collect their admission fee, henceforth, since the COVID-19 lockdown has now been lifted. Earlier the date to pay the admission fee had been deferred by the Government to a month after the pandemic conditions improve. To remove all confusions, the schools should be allowed to recover their admission fee now that the lock-down stands lifted on 08.06.2020 to a great degree.
- All schools, irrespective whether they offered online classes during the lockdown period or not, are entitled to collect the tuition fee.
- Schools will continue to endeavour and impart online learning so that education is not adversely impacted due to the present or future lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19.
- The school management of each school shall work out their actual expenditure incurred under the annual charges for the period the school remained closed. Schools shall recover only such genuine expenditure incurred by them, including actual transport charges and actual building charges, but shall not recover any charge for this period for any activity or facility towards which no expenditure was incurred.
- The schools shall restrain themselves from increasing the fee for the year 2020-21 and adopt the same fee structure as of 2019- 20.
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Responding to grievances raised by parents on the levying of schools fees during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Court also issued the following directions:
- Any parent not able to pay the school fee may file their application with proof about their financial status to be looked into by the school- authority.
- After looking into it sympathetically, the school shall give concession or exempt the entire fee, as the case may be.
- In case the parent is still aggrieved with an adverse decision by the school on his application, he may approach the Regulatory Body, constituted for the same.
- No parent shall misuse the concession by laying a false claim.
- The parents are at liberty to take recourse to the same and, therefore, no specific direction is required to be given by this Court separately.
- In case any school is facing a financial crunch for not having charged the increased fee for the year 2020-21, it may move a representation to the District Education Officer along with its proof of the same.