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Allahabad High Court Asks UP Government About Criteria For Regulation of School Fees Amid Pandemic

Akshita Saxena
19 Jan 2021 2:31 PM GMT
Allahabad High Court Asks UP Government About Criteria For Regulation of School Fees Amid Pandemic
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The Allahabad High Court has sought the response of the UP Government on the issue of regulation of fees charged by private schools, until resumption of physical classes. A Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery has asked the Government about the criteria it shall adopt for regulation of fees under the UP Self-financed Independent...

The Allahabad High Court has sought the response of the UP Government on the issue of regulation of fees charged by private schools, until resumption of physical classes.

A Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery has asked the Government about the criteria it shall adopt for regulation of fees under the UP Self-financed Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018.

Section 4(3) of the Act, inserted by way of an Ordinance dated June 17, 2020, empowers the Government to regulate the fees to be charged by recognised schools, from existing students and newly admitted students for each academic year, in public interest, in extraordinary conditions or emergent circumstances like acts of God, Epidemics, etc.

In the case at hand, parents of the children of studying in Khaitan Public School had moved the High Court raising a unique argument that they do not need any charity but want to pay school fees only on the cost component actually incurred by the school.

The Petitioners' Advocate Anamika Sharma stated that the school, without revealing the cost component and without finalizing the new fee schedule during the Covid19 period, stopped students from getting access to online classes and is also threatening to remove their names from the Register in case of failure to pay the fees approved for the academic year 2019-20.

The Petitioners represented to the court that no one is entitled to make profit during Covid19 pandemic period and thus the school has to recalculate school fee factoring only the cost component.

They further argued that despite arrogating the power to itself vide the abovementioned Ordinance, the State Government is yet to regulate the school fees.

At this juncture, the Standing Counsel sought to give clarity on the issue and apprise the Court about the state's action involving criteria for fixation of fees on the next date.

"Having considered facts of the case and the arguments advanced, we deem it appropriate to peruse the criteria adopted by the State Government for exercising powers under Sub-Section 3 of Section 4 of the Uttar Pradesh Self - Financed Independent Schools (Fee Regulation) Act, 2018. To make the same available, learned Standing Counsel wants some time.

Time prayed for is allowed.

Let this petition for writ be listed on 27th January, 2021 in additional cause list. In the meanwhile, the respondents-State may file a short counter affidavit especially with regard to the criteria adopted while issuing the order dated 27th April, 2020 (Annexure- 4) and other similar orders," the High Court order states.

Further, on allegation that the Respondent-school had stopped providing online classes and is not permitting students to sit in the exam, the counsel appearing for Khaitan Public School undertook that they will continue online classes and will not remove the name of any student from its Registers.

Case Title: Sulekha & Ors. State of UP & Ors.

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