In a setback to parents of school going kids, the Bombay High Court on Friday stayed the government resolution dated May 8, 2020 issued by the State government prohibiting schools and educational institutions from charging fees at hiked rate for the 2020-21 session. Court will take a final decision in the matter in due course, but until then, stay on the GR will remain.
The division bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice RI Chagla were hearing a batch of four petitions filed by the Kasegaon Education Society, Association of Indian Schools, Global Education Foundation and Dnyaneshwar Mauli Sanstha seeking quashing of the said GR issued under Section 21 of Maharashtra Educational Institution (Reguation of Fees) Act, 2011, calling it "excessive, unlawful and unconstitutional."
State government had issued the said GR keeping in mind the Covid-19 pandemic. The said GR also directed all the educational institutions to not collect any balance fees of the year 2019-20 or fees for the year 2020-21 at once and gave parents the option to deposit the fees monthly or quarterly. Aggrieved by the order, several educational trusts running schools across the state approached the high court.
Senior Advocate Milind Sathe, Advocates Pravin Samdhani, Prateek Sakseria along with Advocates Amogh Singh and Nivit Shrivastava instructed by Vidhi partners appeared on behalf of the petitioners. They submitted that the impugned GR is completely unconstitutional as it restricts/curtails rights of petitioners to run and administer schools which is protected under Articles 19(1)(g) of the constitution.
They contended that under the Maharashtra Educational Institution (Reguation of Fees) Act, the State cannot regulate school fees in this manner and issue directions that are not in consonance with the act.
Whereas, AGP BV Samant and AGP Manish Pabale had argued that the State has powers under the said act and the Disaster Management Act to regulate school fees. Samant sought time to filed a reply in the matter and request the bench not to pass any orders until the State files a reply.
However, Court granted relief to the petitioners and posted the matter for hearing after six weeks. Till then the stay on the said GR and compliance of communication issued by the education department to individual schools will continue.
The detailed order will be uploaded soon.