Delhi High Court has ordered that the parents can approach the Directorate of Education if they are aggrieved by any school charging consolidated fees during the lockdown period.
The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh however noted that charging of tuition fee is justified as the same is utilised in paying salaries to the teaching staff and organising online classes.
The order has come in a plea missed by Rajat Vats seeking a direction to be issued to all private schools to suspend charging of any kind of fee during the lockdown period.
The Petitioner had submitted that during the lock-down period students of various private schools in Delhi ought not to be made to pay the
transport charges, fee for extra-curricular activities and other fees which are charged by the school.
Moreover, he argued that since schools are not functioning, payment of tuition fee shall also be postponed.
On the other hand Mr Ramesh Singh, who appeared for the Delhi Government, informed the court that on 17th April, 2020 the Directorate of Education has already passed an order to the effect that no fees except tuition fee be charged.
He further submitted that the government is fully conscious of such students who may have financial difficulties and course material and classes have been made available even to them.
It was also contended by Mr Singh that a number of parents have deposited extra fee, apart from the tuition fee, in advance. The adjustment of the same ought to be granted, and the government will consider the same on its own.
While taking note of the said order of the DoE, the court observed that:
'... that even those students who are unable to pay school fee due to financial crisis, course-work and other material is being made available to them. Such students are also permitted to avail of online classes. It is further clear that schools cannot deny access of online classes and other educational facilities due to non-payment of fees. Schools are also not permitted to charge any new head of fees.'
The court also highlighted that charging of the tuition fee is justified as schools are organising online classes, exams and study materials, and such fee would help them in paying the salaries to the teachers.
While considering the same as a policy issue, the court refused to further intervene in the matter.
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