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[Online Education] Calcutta HC Appoints Committee To Ascertain Schools Fees

Mehal Jain
18 Aug 2020 2:23 PM GMT
[Online Education] Calcutta HC Appoints Committee To Ascertain Schools Fees
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The Calcutta High Court on Monday appointed a Committee to receive the accounts pertaining to the income and expenditure of schools to get an idea as to what the normal income and expenditure ought to be and what it has been after the lockdown started, to ascertain the variable costs involved and the extent of concession that ought to be passed on to students and parents for not incurring such expenditure.

On July 21, a division bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya, issued the following interim directions:

  1. For the moment, none of the 112 schools involved should discontinue making online courses available to any of its students, unconditionally till August 15.
  2. Further, none of the 112 schools will prohibit any of the students from participating in the online examinations, if any, till August 15.
  3. By August 15, the outstanding dues of each student, as at July 31, have to be cleared to the extent of 80 per cent.

On Monday, the division bench "specifically rejected" the prayer made by the parents for relaxing the previous order for payment. However, it was directed that the payments not made thus far may be made within the next week and, if coercive action has already been taken against the students for non-payment, such coercive action will be undone upon the payment in terms of the order dated July 21 being made.

The bench noted that some of the parents complained that despite the order of July 21, several schools have not opened windows for the payment of 80 per cent of the dues till July 31, 2020 to be made, since such schools insist on 100 per cent of the dues to be met. "If there are any schools which have not opened up windows for payment of the 80 per cent of the fees till July 31, 2020 by the parents or students, such schools will not be entitled to take coercive action against the students or to exclude the students from the virtual classes or taking part in the virtual examinations", ordered the bench.

The bench proposed that a two-member committee, headed by Professor Suranjan Das, the current Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, undertake the vetting of accounts of all the schools which are likely to be affected by orders passed in the present proceedings, including the 112 schools initially named and the other schools referred to in supplementary pleadings.

"The statements should include an overall summary and particulars justifying the heads indicated in the summary of the statements to be submitted by the individual schools. The statements should be certified by the regular auditors or by a chartered accountant. The schools which do not furnish the particulars within the time permitted by the order likely to be passed tomorrow, may be restrained from taking any coercive action against the students despite non-payment of further fees by such students. The particulars to be furnished by the schools should include all figures covering the various heads of income and expenditure for the months January to July, 2020", directed the bench.

The bench also warned that in the event of there being any false declaration or the like in the particulars, appropriate action may be taken against those responsible.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]

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