The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued notices on a PIL seeking to waive off school fee for differently abled children who are unable to attend online classes due to their benchmark disability, covered under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
The bench comprising of Justice Pankaj Kumar Jaiswal and Justice Saurabh Lavania has issued notice to the Central Board of Secondary Education and has listed the matter for hearing on June 18, alongside a similar petition.
In the meantime, the court has asked the Additional Chief Standing Counsel HP Srivastava, appearing for the State Government to obtain necessary instructions on the matter.
The petition has been filed on behalf of a student of Class III at the Amity International School, Lucknow, who is suffering from benchmark disability of autism.
It is the case of the petitioner, that given his disability, he is accompanied by a "shadow teacher" at the school, in terms of the Disabilities Act, 2016 and various circulars issued by the CBSE. However, the same is not possible due to lockdown restrictions and hence the Petitioner is unable to attend online classes being offered by the school.
In these circumstances, the Petitioner has prayed for a direction waiving of his school fees during the period of lockdown, while informing the court that his school is "adamant" to charge school fees despite the lockdown and his inability to access online classes.
"The school sent several messages to the petitioner's parents mobile phone to deposit the fee for the month of lockdown till the closure period of the school," the plea states.
The court has also issued notice to Amity International School, Lucknow.
It was submitted before the court that there are thousands of similarly placed children in the city of Lucknow alone, who are unable to attend online classes due to their physical/ mental disability. Accordingly, he has prayed for a direction to all the schools affiliated with CBSE Board "to wave off the fee of the special need children/the children covered under the benchmark disabilities provided under the Disabilities Act, 2016, for the period of closure i.e. from the month of lockdown till the closure period of the school."
The Petitioner was represented by Advocate Krishan Kanhaya Pal.
Case Title: Rajanya Kumar Pal Thru. Father Krishan Kanhaiya Pal v. State of UP & Ors.
Case No.: PIL (C) No. 8186/2020
Quorum: Justice Pankaj Kumar Jaiswal and Justice Saurabh Lavania
Appearance: Advocate Krishan Kanhaya Pal (Petitioner in person); Additional Chief Standing Counsel HP Srivastava (for State)
Click Here To Download Order
Click Here To Download Petition