Private Schools Must Cut Fee For Online Classes: SC

 - Sakshi Post

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic gripped India, schools were the first places to shut down. No child is going to school. In some states of India, schools have been partially reopened on a voluntary basis for students.

The coronavirus pandemic has rendered many people jobless. Parents of the students have been appealing to the authorities of schools to reduce the school fee. 

Now, the Supreme Court has asked the educational institutions to slash the school fees. A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari said that management of schools should understand the problems being faced by the parents of the students and should take measures in order to reduce the school fees. 

The Apex Court was hearing a batch of appeals filed by private unaided schools in Rajasthan against government notifications calling for a 70 per cent reduction in tuition fee by schools affiliated to CBSE, 60 per cent reduction by schools affiliated to the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education for the 2020-21 academic session.

The bench stated, "In law, the school management cannot collect fees in respect of activities and facilities which are, in fact, not provided to or availed of by its students due to circumstances beyond their control. Demanding fees even in respect of overheads on such activities would be nothing short of indulging in profiteering and commercialisation. It is a well-known fact and judicial notice can also be taken that due to complete lockdown, schools were not allowed to open for a substantially long period during the academic year 2020-21. Resultantly, the school management must have saved overheads and recurring costs on various items such as petrol/diesel, electricity, maintenance cost, water charges, stationery charges, etc."

The bench further stated that, "It is for the school management to reschedule payment of school fees in such a way that not even a single student is left out or denied opportunity of pursuing his/her education, so as to effectuate the adage --  live and let live."

Parents contend that due to the online classes, the managements of schools are not paying electricity charges, water charges and other miscellaneous charges.

The bench said, "School managements must have saved 15 percent of annual school fees."

The bench also stated that, "The appellants (school management of the private unaided schools) shall collect annual school fees from their students as fixed under the Act of 2016, but by providing deduction of 15 per cent on that amount in lieu of unutilised facilities by students during the relevant period of academic year 2020-21".

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